In his great book “Good to Great”, Jim Collins uses a metaphor that says leaders should get the right people in the right seats on the bus. Personally, I prefer the metaphor of a team sport instead of a bus, because in a bus, the seat that you choose doesn’t really matter (except if you’re the driver). I’m playing basketball since that I’m 12, so let me use that as an example.
The point guard (PG) leads the game
In basketball, the PG’s job is to run the team’s offence by making sure that the players are in their right position. He/she should distribute the ball to his/her teammates at the right time so that THEY can score. Sometimes, the PG scores too, but it’s mainly the teammates that should score while he/she is giving the assists.
That’s exactly your job as a leader. You must find the right teammates, put them in the positions where they excel and give them enough opportunities to score. Let them do the scoring. It’s not about you, it’s about your team.
The players trust each other completely
The opponent is winning 79-78, you have the ball and you look at the timer: 5 seconds left! You dribble, the defence is tight, but you could go through. However, on the other side is Fred, and he stands free! You don’t think twice about your choice: you pass the ball; Fred scores and your team wins the game.
Well that’s trust. You trust your teammates completely and that’s what makes your team better than other teams. So why don’t we trust when it’s about business? Why do we want to keep the merits for ourselves? Let’s have the same faith in our colleagues as we have in our teammates.
Individuals are needed to have a team
Even if it’s a team sport, when Quentin has the ball, he keeps calm and doesn’t pass the ball immediately back to “the team”, he takes responsibilities. If he misses his shot, he also doesn’t blame the team. He takes responsibilities and defends two times better to take the ball back.
Taking your responsibilities and being pro-active is very important in business, because hiding behind the excuse of the “team” doesn’t help anyone.
At the end, it’s for fun
Even if you are playing to win, at the end, you play for fun. If Jason doesn’t like to play in our team, he will quit playing and leave the team. The only reason for him to stay is because he loves the team spirit, and that’s what makes a team strong.
You need to love what you do and share the same core-values with your colleagues, otherwise you will not be able to unlock the potential of your business.
Remembering all of this, the key to be a good leader is not to score but to help others score. And if you can add the fun part to it, you are running your business as a team sport, building a great foundation for a successful business.