6 Leadership Lessons From World Champion Steve Kerr is an enlightening essay written by John Eades, Author, podcaster and CEO of LearnLoft @johngeades. It goes on like this:
There are leaders, then there are great leaders. When you experience a great leader in everyday life, it’s a different experience.
Enter Steve Kerr, head coach of the 2017 NBA World Champion Golden State Warriors. His team battled the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, and beat them 4 games to 1. Not only did he win his second NBA championship as a coach, but he also holds the highest winning percentage in NBA history and was previously named coach of the year. Here are a just a few takeaways we can learn from Kerr’s leadership style:
It’s not about the leader
A few years ago when the Warriors won their first NBA championship since 1975, Kerr almost refused the microphone and trophy after winning. He did the same thing again in 2017 but when he did finally speak he used all of his time to give praise to his other coaches, players, and team ownership.
He knows he is just a spoke in the wheel, and it’s his job to push those around him to levels they didn’t even know they were capable of, without wanting any credit.
Talent matters but it’s your job to enhance it
Kerr has been blessed with some of the greatest talent the NBA has ever seen. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Clay Thompson and Draymond Green are elite-level players that any coach would love to have. Kerr has been quoted as saying, “Everyone who gets into coaching in the NBA knows it’s all about the talent.”
While it’s impossible to win titles in the NBA without talent, it isn’t a guarantee for success unless those players are getting better year in and year out. Kerr has made nearly every player he has ever coached not only a better basketball player, but a better human being.
Trust your team
News broke that Kerr was stepping away from coaching the team in the NBA playoffs because of nagging pain from back and neck surgery. Kerr stated he wouldn’t return to the bench until he was fully capable of giving the team 100 percent. There is nothing worse than a leader who doesn’t trust their team to do the job in their absence. It’s a sign of an unhealthy ego and micromanagement.
Kerr showed the ultimate trust in assistance coach Mike Brown and his players by stepping away during the most critical time in the season, and it created a stronger bond of mutual trust between the parties.
Always look for new ways to add value
While Kerr was absent from games, he didn’t stay away from the team entirely. He was an active participant in practices, game plans, and strategy to help his team be prepared as best as possible when they stepped on the floor without him.
Know your core values
Kerr is famous for being a student of leadership and always working on his craft as a coach. One offseason he went to see Pete Carroll the Seattle Seahawks head coach and Carroll taught him an important lesson: “Your leadership approach has to reflect your identity.”
After that meeting, Kerr identified ‘joy’ as a core value he had to lead with all the time. Knowing your core values is a critical part in finding your authentic leadership voice.
Empowerment is key
Kerr has built a culture of empowerment with the Warriors. So much so star Draymond Green said:
“So he [Kerr] built a culture to where, one man down, the next man has to step up. And it’s not just on him, it’s on everybody to come together and empower that next man and have his back through whatever the situation is, and ride for him just like you’d ride for coach Kerr.”
PUBLISHED ON: JUN 9, 2017 on INC.COM – The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
Hi key to success is “Don’t start out by answering questions; start by asking them”. He came up with four questions all leader should ask. Getting thde answers helps leading confidently and effectively. Below is the extensive post.
Have You Heard This One?
A company, feeling it was time for a shake-up, hires a new CEO. This new boss is determined to rid the company of all slackers. On a tour of the facilities, the CEO notices a guy leaning on a wall. The room is full of workers and he thinks this is his chance to show everyone he means business!
The CEO walks up to the guy and asks, “And how much money do you make a week?” Undaunted, the young fellow looks at him and replies, “I make $600 a week. Why?” The CEO then hands the guy $600 in cash and screams, “Here’s a week’s pay, now GET OUT and don’t come back!”
Feeling pretty good about his first firing, the CEO looks around the room and asks, “Does anyone want to tell me what that slacker did here?” With a sheepish grin, one of the other workers mutters, “He’s the pizza delivery guy.”
A successful start as a new leader doesn’t require bold actions or drastic measures. And if you try to start leading before you know what’s going on, you risk firing the pizza guy and looking foolish, like our CEO in the joke above.
A strong foundation for effective leadership is built not on dramatic acts but on understanding the environment, and building trust, so that when it is time to take action, your team will be willing to follow you.
To establish those things, here are four questions you should ask, why they are important, and some tips for how you can get the answers you need.
1. Ask: What is the vision?
This is all about knowing the direction you need to take the team. Leadership is influencing others to get something done, so it’s crucial to understand what the long term vision of your organization is, and the short term goals you need to meet to get there.
Get the answer: The best way to get this is to meet with your boss. Even if you already know the organization and each other, do this anyway. It’s important to sit down and discuss their specific expectations.
It can be intimidating if your boss doesn’t initiate a meeting, or seems too busy. But set it up and make it happen. You can’t lead effectively if you are uncertain about the direction you are going.
2. Ask: What are the team’s strengths and weaknesses?
This is all about who’s on your team and what they can do. Maybe you have been around a while and already kind of know. Or you are the newest kid on the block and don’t know anyone.
Either way, it’s worth the time and effort to deliberately evaluate the relative strengths of your team members and compare that to what your team is supposed to be doing.
Get the answers: Talk to each member of your team. Get to know them as people, and ask them to explain what they do, how they do it, and what challenges they face.
By developing an understanding of who is on your team and what they can (and can’t) do, you are laying the foundations of trust and improving your grasp of team capabilities.
When you know what obstacles are holding them back, you will be able to see how you can help clear the way forward.
3. Ask: What don’t you know that you should?
This is about your personal competence in your leadership position. It’s directly related to building the trust that is so essential on an effective team.
An early mistake new leaders can make is to try to act as if they already know everything. Even if you think you do, people will shut down on you if you act as though no one can teach you anything.
Get the answers: The best leaders I’ve known were always full of questions and curiosity, even when they thought they knew the answers. They were confident, but when they didn’t understand something, they wouldn’t try to hide it. Instead, they became intensely curious.
They would ask lots of open-ended questions like, “tell me more about how that works,” “how do you fix it when it breaks” and “where do you get the resources you need?”
Who would you rather follow – someone who pretends to know everything or the person who admits he doesn’t but actively strives to fill in a knowledge gap whenever he finds one?
4. Ask: Who do you need to know?
As the leader, a crucial part of your job is synchronizing the actions and efforts of your team with the rest of the world. To do this you have to have a leadership network.
Get the answers: Think about who your team supports or gets support from on a regular basis – it could range from suppliers to maintainers, marketers, customers, finance, and human resources. Also ask your boss who you should get to know.
Make a list, then go introduce yourself. Do it before you need something from them. Ask about what they do, how they interact with your team and about any challenges they are having that have involve your team. Simply connecting with people and showing that you are interested in them will open doors, improve your understanding of your environment, and give you places to turn when problems arise.
New Leader Questions – The Takeaway
Being a new leader can be tough even under the best of circumstances. One of the best things you can do to make it easier on yourself is to get clear on the direction, fill in your knowledge gaps, and get connected to others who can help you move your team forward.
This list just scratches the surface of how to focus your efforts in the early days of a leadership position. After all, firing the pizza guy is probably not the way you want to start things out!
According to Georges Couros in his blog (see here, published June 8th, 2017), leadership is not “an easy endeavor”. In this post, the author describes 10 characteristics of great leaders or as those that a good leader should have. Here is below the extensive text.
Authentic leadership is relatively recent and, is based on the leader’s legitimacy and ethical relationships with truthful self-concepts that promote openness, with subordinates, colleagues and clients alike.
Authentic leaders are able to improve individual and team performance as a result of trust and naturally generated enthusiastic support. A compilation of 5 Tips for Authentic Leadership is proposed , based on insights from Brenda Ellington Booth and Brooke Vuckovic from the Kellogg School of Management website of 7 March 2016.
It’s one thing to gain mastery of a particular function or skillset; it’s quite another to take responsibility for, and earn the respect of, employees from different backgrounds, functions, and cultures. . .
For many leaders, this transition is marked by a period of self-doubt. The newly appointed ask themselves: Am I tough enough? Extroverted enough? Can I deal with the constant exposure? Faced with this uncertainty, leaders naturally look for models they can emulate.
But interestingly, imitating the leadership styles of others may not be the best way to go. “People often think they need to change or mold themselves into an idealized version of leadership,” says Brenda Booth, a clinical professor of management at the Kellogg School. “This creates a kind of impostor syndrome. They think that if they are truly themselves, people won’t accept it” . . .
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