It is undeniable that sports offer invaluable lessons and offer essential leadership
roles for people of all ages.
The NBA provides many essential examples for success. Ifyou consider yourself a leader, or you are in the beginning stages of becoming one, at
work, home, in the community, or in an educational setting, the NBA offers more than
entertainment; it is a critical leadership model for every stage of life for high-end results.
1. Adopt the three Cs: charisma, challenge, and control
To be an effective leader, you need to know how to inspire and challenge others
to do their very best. Be consistent when you lead. Charismatic leaders bring as
much energy to the court as they do to the boardroom.
The second C is challenge, empowering others to do their best to become
leaders as well. An effective leader needs a role model from which he/she can
learn and observe. Challenging others is a democratic process that employs
members of the team to make decisions, work together, and to contribute to the
overall success of the company. When employees and/or team members don’t
feel their contributions matter, they are less likely to take pride in or responsibility
for the result. Leaders can challenge without condemning team members.
Control is essential when you are tasked with leading an NBA team or a sales
squad. Being a leader requires rationality, empathy, and an overall sense of
calmness, all without compromising assertive leadership and emotions. Leaders
can inspire confidence in his/her team without feeling exposed or distressed.
Your emotions create the environment in which they are communicated. You
have to decide how you want your message to be heard AND perceived. It’s
okay to be down-to-earth, but fierce when the time is right. Know when to use the
right emotion to inspire and lead.
2. Get the right people on your team and get to know them
You cannot be a good leader without knowing exactly whom it is you are leading.
When you understand your team better, you can utilize the best strategy to
inspire and generate an environment for personal and professional successes.
Every NBA coach knows a player’s position, strengths, weaknesses, goals, pet
peeves, communication strengths and weaknesses, and what inspires them.
Leaders know exactly what it is each team player needs to perform their very
best in a game or at the office, and how to communicate the goals and
aspirations of the team.
3. Treat the team as it is—a team
This idea goes back to grade-school basketball teams: ‘there is no I in team.’ A
leader does not raise one member of the team on a pedestal and ignore the
supporting members who contribute to the success of the team. The goal of the
leader is to look out for team members, help them achieve successes, and ultimately assist them with understating and staying focused on their goals. As a
leader, you must focus on the small victories of the team, as well as the larger
A leader also prepares the team for challenges before the come to fruition
on the court or in the office.
…Can you think of any more leadership lessons learned from NBA Basketball?
Let us know in the comments below!