TaylorCarr.com Leadership lessons from sports

Leadership lessons from sports

Posted in In the News, Leadership Communication, Sports on Sunday, May 30th, 2010 at 11:46 am No Comments
NOTE: This is a post I made to the Leadership Styles course I’m teaching at Grand Canyon University. Most of our students are earning a Master of Science in Leadership degree.  The students are from all over the US and almost all are working on their degree while balancing a full-time job and a family. Big salute to them!

Leadership lessons from sports

I know many of you are not Phoenix residents, but I hope you don’t mind if I share some take homes from last night’s NBA playoff game and the world of sports in general. The Suns lost to the LA Lakers last night in the conference finals, ending a surprisingly good season.

Alvin Gentry

Suns coach Alvin Gentry has proved to be a highly effective leader for several reasons; and one of the most notable techniques he used was giving bench players such a big role. Gentry used the path-goal approach which suggests that subordinates will be motivated if they think they are capable of performing their work, if they think their efforts will result in a positive outcome, and if they believe that the payoffs for doing their work are worthwhile (Northouse, 2010). As you know from your research, coaches use various approaches and styles as they lead. Gentry’s style is somewhat similar to Coach K’s; in fact one of the Suns’ team leaders is former Duke player Grant Hill. Coach Gentry proved to be strong situational leader as well, understanding that when his young players faced failure they needed encouragement.

One of the LA Lakers’ team leaders is point guard Derek Fisher. Fisher played college basketball at Arkansas-Little Rock and I had the privilege of broadcasting the team’s games his junior and senior seasons. Fisher’s strength is not scoring, it’s helping players like Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol score. He played the same way in college, leaving Ark.-Little Rock as the school leader in assists. Now, after 15 years in the NBA, Fisher is viewed as the consummate team player – and a team leader – even though he rarely leads the way in points scored. You may know Fisher from the 2007 playoffs when he was with Utah and missed most of Game 2 to be with his daughter who was being treated for a rare form of cancer. Fisher arrived at the arena in the 3rd quarter and hit a 3-pointer that helped lead the Jazz to a win. Fisher is also president of the NBA Player’s Association. (For more on Derek Fisher, check out his website:http://www.derekfisher2.com/and his book: Character Driven: Life, Lessons and Basketball.)

I hope you don’t mind that I seized the sports metaphors on this occasion. We see so many bad examples in athletics, and speaking as a life-long and sometimes jaded sports fan it’s refreshing when the positive shines through.

Please feel free to add your comments in the discussion forum. — Taylor

No Comments Yet.

Leave a Reply

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.

copyright 2011 TaylorCarr.com All rights reserved.