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“You might need marriage counseling after this game.”

Little did our friends know the truth of a sentence spoken in jest.

For the past couple years, playing pickup basketball has been one of my more consistent events week in, week out. Recently I spent some time reflecting on the leadership lessons I can share from my time on the court.

Recently my wife has been playing with us. I love my wife, she’s amazing, but we were fortunate enough to have not been paired up to that point, until this fateful day.

We had a few tense moments, and frustrations never got the best of us. But, it was still an experience. And here’s what I realized: she doesn’t know what I know about basketball. She has her own instincts. She doesn’t know my hand signals or head nods. She doesn’t know to anticipate which cut I’m going to make (or usually not make).

So who am I to get frustrated at her for knowing what she knows and not what I know?

The same is true in leadership. How can we honestly get frustrated at someone for not knowing what they’ve never been taught?

What if we shifted our mindset? What if, instead of lamenting what someone may not know, we take on the role of guide and teach them? How would our leadership change if we created a shared language?

Basically, we have two choices: 1) we can expect people to “get with the program” and catch up to where we are, or 2) we can understand what someone may not know and help them grow. One of these requires a decent amount of self awareness. The other is poor leadership.

Take a minute to evaluate some of the people you lead. What do they not know? How can you help them grow?


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