As the 1st week of the 2015 NFL season draws to a close tonight, what better time to reflect on the mess the the NFL has made of itself in its mismanagement of the Deflate-Gate scandal.

Here are 5 lessons in what not to do when you're a leader of a major organization:

1. Don't Make Your Problems Bigger than They Have to Be: Regardless of where you come out on this whole Deflate-Gate story, the issue boils down to the enforcement of league rules. There is a rule in the NFL that prohibits teams from tampering with footballs to be used in a game. The penalty for it is a fine of $50,000.00. Had NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell simply applied the rule and moved on, this whole saga would have been avoided. Instead, he chose to make it into something bigger than it had to be. By doing so, he subjected his customers (i.e., NFL fans) to observe a summer's worth of legal wrangling that ultimately hurt the reputation of him and the league.

A good leader doesn't make problems bigger than they already are to prove a point or teach a lesson.

2. Don't Publically Humiliate Your Best People: When Goodell decided to amplify the football tampering issue into some sort of indictment on the sanctity of the game, he also ensnared one of his league's leading superstars, Tom Brady. What ensued was a very public attempt to humiliate one of the NFL's best by issuing him a 4 game suspension. When Brady fought back through the courts and got the decision reversed, Goodell brought even more embarrassment to him and the league.

A good leader doesn't publically humiliate key players in the organization or try to make examples out of its high performers.

3. Don't Make A Bad Decision Worse: It's bad enough that Goodell made a poor decision to make the football tampering into a bigger issue than it had to be (driving one of his league's beloved superstars to seek relief through the federal court system), but, he has decided to make matters even worse by appealing the federal court's decision. All that this is going to do is further alienate the customer. Let's face it, most NFL fans want this whole Deflate-Gate scandal to be over. It is taking away from our satisfaction of the game.

A good leader doesn't make a poor decision worse by doubling down on it so to save face or assuage one's pride.

4. Don't Forget to Address Real Problems Within Your Organization: While Goodell was busy keeping himself and the league in the headlines over the Deflate-Gate scandal, he was failing to dedicate the time necessary to address the league's bigger challenges including domestic abuse, drug abuse and player safety. If Goodell dedicated half of the attention he spent determining Tom Brady's involvement in deflating footballs on battling the domestic abuse problem that is so prevalent in his league we may be able to get through an entire season without reading about some NFL player smacking his wife or kids around.

A good leader doesn't avoid addressing the big issues by focusing on ones that only add drama to the workplace.

5. Don't Make a Spectacle Out of Your Organization by Drawing Attention to Yourself: If you didn't already know that Roger Goodell was the Commissioner of the NFL before this season, you do now! At least he accomplished that. He gained this notoriety not because he did an outstanding job, but, because he didn't.

Good leaders don't draw attention to themselves at the expense of their organizations.

To close, there is lots that professional sports can teach us about leadership, perseverance and performance. Most of these lessons are positive ones, both, engaging and inspiring. Unfortunately, the ones to be learned from the NFL of recent years are lessons in what not to do and how not to behave. I hope that we can look to this coming season as one that represents a turning point for the better.

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