Monday morning quarterbacks are those who happily show us how smart they are AFTER the decisions were made, the work was done, and the results are known.
In the organizational behavior literature this concept is referred to as Management By Exception (MBE). It's when the boss provides little in the way of clarity or guidance, then pontificates or criticizes after team members have acted as they deemed needful (or as they discerned the boss would have wanted).
The best leaders I know refuse to be Monday Morning Quarterbosses. Instead, they engage in a repetitive menu of impactful actions toward organizational improvement and performance.
That menu looks something like this:
- Articulate often and with profound clarity the Vision of the organization.
- With the team, they codify clearly a few (five or fewer) important goals they believe will move the organization toward that Vision.
- Empower the team to pursue this Vision zealously (within law/policy and within ethical standards).
- Monitor the activity and the outcomes persistently, through multiple lenses.
- Meet with the team to collectively assess the impact of their actions, the validity of the data, the fidelity of the efforts, and the adjustments that are needed.