#Leadership Lessons from Dr. Jack Ramsay

I really didn’t know much about Dr. Jack Ramsay. I had heard his name quite a bit and knew he was a sports broadcaster who worked games in the National Basketball Association (NBA). I guess his name was memorable because there aren’t too many in the media who have the title of “Dr.” When Dr. Jack, as he was known, passed away this past week, the response from players, coaches, and members of the media was quite significant; he obviously was a man who had a positive impact on many lives. So, I decided I should learn more about Dr. Jack Ramsay. Here is some of what I discovered.

Before becoming a sports broadcaster, Dr. Jack was a basketball coach, and before that he served our country as a captain in the Navy. Dr. Jack coached in both college and the NBA. He is in the Basketball Hall of Fame, so he must have been a pretty good coach! He won an NBA championship as coach of the Portland Trail Blazers and while coaching college, took St. Joseph’s to the final four. Dr. Jack earned his undergraduate degree from St. Joseph’s and his masters and doctorate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. The latter two degrees were both in education, which tells me that Dr. Jack placed a high value on teaching.

Dr. Jack Ramsay

Dr. Jack Ramsay

I also came across this great quote, attributed to Dr. Jack, “Teams that play together beat those teams with superior players who play more as individuals.” Dr. Jack reminds us of the selfless character of great teams. Great teams play together. They sacrifice for each other and the good of the team. Great teams are made of individuals who don’t care who gets the credit or the recognition; they want the team to succeed and that is the most important priority.

As leaders, we strive to build great teams. So how do we promote the selflessness that Dr. Jack says is so important? First, as leaders, we can model selflessness for our team members and show them that it’s not about us, it’s about the team and the organization. Second, we can pay attention and recognize acts of selfishness and then address them quickly and directly. Third, we can emphasize team goals rather than individual goals. This can be done by carefully selecting and monitoring metrics that focus on team achievement rather than individual performance. Lastly, we can implement a reward system that recognizes and praises team success instead of individual accomplishments.

As Dr. Jack reminds us, teams that work together can accomplish great things. It is our job as leaders to promote and encourage this selfless teamwork. So this week, pay attention to the teamwork in your organization. Does your team work together? Do your team members support each other? Is there a selflessness that makes team success the top priority? Once you evaluate your team’s selflessness, use some of the tips listed here to help them become an even more supportive team that works together and achieves great success!

Thanks for reading,

Ways to follow Dr. Jim Earle:
Twitter – @jvearle
Blog – http://www.jvearle.wordpress.com
Facebook – JVEarleConsulting
Book – 100 Yards of Success: Leadership Lessons from College Football, http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-62510-731-2


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