Leadership Lessons from Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan retired earlier this month after a 19 year career with the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association. He is considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Duncan won 5 NBA Championships, two league most valuable player awards, and 15 NBA all-star selections.

While Duncan’s basketball accomplishments are impressive, his character off the court is what makes him really special. After Duncan’s retirement, Gregg Popovich, Duncan’s coach for all of his 19 years with the Spurs, had this to say about Tim Duncan: “He’s made livings for hundreds of us, staff and coaches, over the years and never said a word, just came to work every day. Came early, stayed late, was there for every single person, from the top of the roster to the bottom of the roster. Because that’s who he was, in all those respects.” And in describing what makes Duncan so special, Popovich said, “He is the most real, consistent, true person I have ever met in my life. He was so genuine, it blows your mind.” These comments are significant praise from a man who is the longest tenured coach in any U.S. professional sport, a leader who has won over 1,000 games and five NBA championships.

It is clear that Tim Duncan had a strong work ethic, really cared about his teammates and coaches, and was honest and sincere.  These qualities helped him become an all-star basketball player but, more importantly, an all-star person.

These same qualities will help you become an all-star leader. Leaders who model a strong work ethic for their team members, typically develop an organization with a strong work ethic. Leaders who genuinely care about their team members develop an organization that is loyal and committed. So think about the leadership lessons we can learn from Tim Duncan, and become a championship leader by putting these lessons to work in your organization.

Thanks for reading,




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