After twelve years and a half in the same place (I know it sounds crazy but it’s not) I recently made a change in my life. New job, new adventures. New challenges and new things to learn. Of course, there was a goodbye party which was a blast. Ok, it wasn’t actually a goodbye party, it was the company end of the year party, and it happen to be as I was leaving. Best timing ever. And besides the tons of fun I had, there were two things which strike me: the number of hugs I got (which means that I did something right in all these years) and the goodbye gift. The gift is a picture and is one of the best compliments I ever received at work.
I literally stared at the picture for days. I retrospect at my life and my work. From all the connections I made, there are three leadership thoughts which relate to my experience and I want to share with you. Because of these thoughts I am looking at this gift as a great compliment.
A good leader is not mandatory the expert in the team, the best in everything … He is the best in leading the group to its best. For a long time, I didn’t understand this. In my mind, and probably for many people, a leader needs to be the best of the bests in what he’s doing. Now I consider it a myth. That’s not necessary a leader, that’s the ultimate expert.
- Curry is not the best in the paint in the team – Cousins is;
- Curry is not the best defender in the team – Green is;
- Curry is not the best scorer in the team – Durant is;
- Curry has the crown for three-point shooting but even there Klay is very close to him;
But Curry is the engine. Curry is the glue which keeps the team together and pushes it forward. He is very strong at many of those skills, but that’s not what makes him the leader. What makes him the leader, the glue, the engine, is a mix of many factors and the next two are playing a big role.
Elevate your team and together you will get to the top … I played basketball for many years. In all these years I was an emotional disaster on the court. I yell, I cried and I argued all the time. Somebody can say that I put a lot of soul into the game but that’s not an excuse. Still, I noticed that people were gathered around me. Despite my craziness on the court my friends were enjoying playing by my side. I was keep asking myself why. It was clear that I was leading the team. Even if I wasn’t the best. So why were they enjoy playing by my side despite my craziness?
At work, I like to think that I’m infinitely calmer. I am much better on what I do than I’m a basketball player. Still, I was not the best for all the skills our team needed. And yet, I was leading the team. And yet, it seems that people did enjoy follow my lead.
The answer has started to shape a while ago. Curry doesn’t care that Durant scores more, Green is a better defender and Cousins rebounds more. More than that, he enjoys that. He elevates them with any occasion. When Klay is open for a three-point shot, he passes. When Durant is open, he passes. He loves creating plays for the others to shine.
I realised that I was doing something very similar. I always trusted my team and their skills. If they were open, I was passing the ball. I created plays for my teammates to score. I always involved everybody from the team. I put my soul into the game, and as a response, the team has done the same. I love the game, but it wasn’t about me. It was about succeeding together. I get them the ball in the best positions for them to score. And that happens even in my craziest moments. I always encourage my team to make the shot. To take the chance.
At work, I live by the same rules. I love creating opportunities for my teammates where they do the best. I recognise where they do better than me and I am not afraid to learn from them. I love involving everybody. That makes people enjoying my leadership and enjoying working by my side (even in the crazy times). That and another important thing.
No obstacle is too big to stop us from helping our team … When we lead, our team relies on us. And when the times come, a leader needs to make the play to help the team.
In the picture, Curry takes the shot against LeBron. And LeBron is exactly like the song says: bigger, better, stronger. Yet, the team relies on Curry to take the challenge. And he does that without fear. Challenges are actually the triggers which helps us grow. The obstacles we fight to remove are our next lessons to learn. We cannot grow with a vanilla game. And we cannot help our team with a vanilla game.
These obstacles are scaring the hell out of me. But now I know that when they appear two good things will happen: I have the chance to help my team, which always makes me feel good, and I have new lessons to learn. Six months ago my team needed me in a difficult moment. I did the hard thing and one of my team members, a great person with a lot of experience, told me that he wouldn’t had the courage to have that conversation (I know he would, it was a nice way to say thank you). I smiled because courage didn’t mean that I was not scared … I was scared as always. But I learned not to hesitate. And now I am more convince than ever that when we don’t hesitate and we face the challenges for the team … our team will go through fire with us.
This gift was an awesome trigger for retrospection. I hope these thoughts are a small gift back:
- We don’t need to be the best in every aspect in our teams to lead … we need to enjoy working with stronger people and learn how we can complete each other
- Elevating our team members is crucial … trusting them and creating them opportunities to use their strengths will get us the best results
- No obstacle is too big to stop us from helping our team … these are the moments which are teaching us the most and are giving us as leaders great satisfactions.
Thank you, my friends, for this.