Earlier this week we talked about how LeBron James built a winning team by using vision and mission to help align his team with their bigger goals. Today, we talk about how you can help you team stand and deliver. We will also talk about how to help your winning team celebrate their victories.
Great leaders are great because they understand the psychology of leadership and winning. After today you may never look at LeBron James in the same way again. Let’s get started!
The third step of LeBron James winning formula was Deliver! It’s easy to have a vision and mission. I would bet many of the top performing teams in the NBA had both of these elements in their plans for 2016. To me, and many high performing coaches, every leader expects to deliver on their promise.
Here’s where it takes a special person to know how to get the best out of a team every day. A great leader is capable of both leading and following. To become a champion you must win many games. As importantly, it’s helping your team develop new skills and capabilities while performing at every level.
LeBron James would have made an incredible psychologist. He understands the soft side of leadership. He knows what motivates people, he understands how people hate to change, but love to grow. He models his behavior with his teammates and coaches. Great leaders inspire others to be all they can be even before they might see it themselves.
If you’ve followed the Cavs since LeBron James returned, you find a team that last year played at a level that they weren’t even ready to play at. I believe that this is why we saw so many injuries last year. People were expecting great things from the team. The problem was the right pieces hadn’t yet fallen into place. Players wanted to win, but were still learning how. This Cavs team was much better at resting and developing new skills throughout the year. LeBron James was great at developing emotional intelligence across the organization. He helped them celebrate along the way as they improved.
They were planning to be ready to play the Championship series. They were willing to sacrifice in the short term to win in the long term. This is the mark of a mature team. Even when they were down 3 -1, they remained confident and ready to follow their floor leader to hell and back. They had a shared vision and a shared mission. They were confident he would help them fulfill the mission he had set for them at the beginning of the year.
When they started off towards their goal they had no idea the kind of year Golden State was going to have. Their own record was almost flawless at home. This is where LeBron James was exceptional. I believe that he knew that the odds would return to his team if they returned to Golden State’s home court. I’ve found great leaders know when momentum is shifting. Then they push to the next level. We saw this when LeBron James dug deep for another gear at the end of the series. He and his team knew they could do it and they did.
Finally, there is one more step to take that all great leaders understand. They know how to celebrate their victories. I’ve never found a great leader who does not know how to celebrate their victories. Show me a person who doesn’t know how to celebrate when they win and I’ll show you a leader who doesn’t win much. Learning how to win is critical to creating a winning organization.
I was very proud of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night. They played well under pressure, they won. They consoled the other team. Many reached out to different players to comfort and assure. They went the extra mile and it makes them incredible champions both on and off the court.
Then they celebrated. They were amazing. It was incredible!! Wednesday this week over 1.2 million people celebrated with the team and attended the NBA celebration parade here in Cleveland on Wednesday. Talk about a great celebration.
LeBron took the opportunity to share with the Cavalier fans something about every one of his fellow team members and coaches. He took the opportunity to reinforce his appreciation for all their efforts, both seen and unseen. He allowed them to celebrate in their own way!
I would swear you could see all his team members grow in front of our eyes. This is a great reminder to all of us serving leaders to go that extra mile when sharing appreciation with all the people who helped you get here. I heard from many people how much they appreciated LeBron’s comments and thanks.
When was the last time you and your team celebrated? If you’re like many of us, we don’t do it often enough. Try these steps next time you’re in a challenging situation. I think you will love the results! See you next week!