Sharing the basketball

The Los Angeles Lakers basketball team is having a difficult season. They have a record of 20 wins and 26 losses, well below the standard for a team that has won 16 NBA championships. Interestingly, the Lakers are 14-7 when Kobe Bryant has 6 or more assists and just 6-19 when he has less than 6 assists. This is interesting because Kobe Bryant is a scorer. Bryant is a 15 time all-star who, at the start of this season, was fifth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. When people think of Kobe, they think scoring points; they certainly don’t think of assists.

So what leadership lessons can we uncover from a team that is winning more when their superstar scorer passes more and shares the scoring responsibilities with others on the team?

1) We can’t do it alone. To achieve our organizational goals, we must work as a team. We must “share the basketball” with others on our team who may be in a better position to move our organization forward.
2) We must have confidence in others on our team. When we believe others on our team can get the job done, we “share the basketball” and trust they’ll make the shot. We give them responsibility for completing their tasks and the authority to finish the job. In addition, “sharing the basketball” is a show of confidence in our team members. And when we show confidence in our team members, they feel this support and become more self-confident as a result.
3) When we “share the basketball” we model one of the most important leadership behaviors, selflessness. Team members follow selfless leaders, not selfish ones. Selfless leaders care more about the team than they do themselves. They care more about the individuals on the team than they do their own personal glory. When leaders model selflessness, team members tend to also be selfless. With selflessness, true teamwork is possible. To create a cohesive team, full of selfless individuals, you as the leader must model this selflessness.

It seems that when the Lakers share the basketball, their team is more successful. Show your team how to “share the basketball” and more success is bound to come your way as well.

Thanks for reading,


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