Achieve Slam-Drunk Results with These NBA All-Star Techniques | Tech News

Whether you’re shooting three-pointers or shooting emails to board members, key lessons in accountability from NBA superstars can translate to success in the workplace.The leaders who spearhead the greatest NBA teams and the most successful companies i…

BY Partners In Leadership – 26 Jun 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Whether you’re shooting three-pointers or shooting emails to board members, key lessons in accountability from NBA superstars can translate to success in the workplace.

The leaders who spearhead the greatest NBA teams and the most successful companies in the world possess a special talent for mobilizing all team members to achieve shared objectives.

This talent–which derives from skilled leadership that inspires higher personal accountability–can lead to successes as notable as the Golden State Warriors’ sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers in this year’s NBA finals. Corporate leaders should take note, considering that 84% of employees cite leaders’ behavior as the most important factor in influencing accountability within their organizations, according to our Workplace Accountability Study.

Here are a few actionable lessons in accountability from the NBA’s top performers that can help position corporate leaders for slam-dunk success.

The Houston Rockets: Fostering High Levels of Engagement

Under the joint leadership of Chris Paul and James Harden, the Rockets finished the 2018 regular season first in their league–for the first time ever! With their pragmatic, yin and yang approach to feedback, the duo cultivated deeper engagement from all players.

Denver Nuggets head coach Mike Malone called Chris Paul “the best leader [he’s] ever been around.” Malone credits Paul’s success as a leader to his ability to give difficult feedback. “Sometimes a leader has to get on his teammates and say things they may not want to hear, but that they need to hear,” says Malone.

Harden balances Paul’s constructive criticism with positive reinforcement, saying, “It’s important to make sure the player feels they’re loved and welcome at all times.”

This balanced approach to feedback enables each player to see how his personal actions contribute to the team’s success, which generates deeper engagement. Team-wide engagement enabled the Rockets to hold their weight against the Warriors, winning three games in the semifinals–by a margin of up to 22 points during Game 2.

Corporate leaders can create deeper organization-wide engagement by following Paul and Harden’s lead, offering feedback that emphasizes the impact of each individual employee’s daily actions. Understanding one’s direct impact on larger organizational goals inspires employees to engage more deeply with their work–recent Gallup polls reveal that improved engagement leads to 17% higher productivity, 21% higher profitability, and nearly 60% less turnover.

The Boston Celtics: Achieving Results in the Absence of a Leader

Kyrie Irving, the Celtics’ All-Star point guard, suffered a knee injury in March and was taken out of play. The absence of a strong leader can cripple any team. However, one player stepped up in Irving’s absence: Al Horford, a seasoned NBA veteran, proves that those who are the face of the franchise aren’t the only ones who can take ownership over team results.

“When the team needs me to step up and score, I will,” says Horford. “Otherwise I need to defend.” Horford actively commits to achieving his team’s desired results by taking personal accountability for making it happen: he willingly adapts to a variety of roles, assuming all measures necessary to help the Celtics win.

Coach Brad Stevens shone a light on Horford’s total commitment to team success when he said, “Al is a lot more concerned with how our team plays than his stat line.”

It’s worth mentioning, however, that Irving has not let his injury keep him from leading his team’s pursuit of victory from the sideline, telling SportsCenter’s Scott Van Pelt, “I try to offer a lot of knowledge to my teammates. They want to be great. It’s easy to help individuals like that. I think that the strongest trait about them is that they all want to learn.”

By accepting his new role in helping his team achieve results, Irving has helped to breed new leaders like Horford.

In the workplace, employees of all types can take a cue from Horford and Irving’s dedication. The leadership potential of any organization extends beyond the C-suite: every employee can learn to step out of his or her defined role when circumstances require it, taking on responsibilities that propel the entire team toward its shared objectives.

What’s more, leaders can continue to lead effectively from a number of standpoints, as Irving’s motivating postseason support of his team has proven. Leaders can observe, encourage, and coach from any position, as long as they are committed to the team’s objectives.

The Accountability Finals

The Houston Rockets and the Boston Celtics demonstrate the power that leaders (and those who step up in a leader’s absence) have to foster ownership and commitment in the workplace. Here’s the added magic, the byproduct of a culture with high-levels of ownership and buy in, what we call a Culture of Accountability, is increased levels of team engagement, even happiness, and most notably, game-changing success.

Want more? Check out the valuable leadership lessons from the fourth consecutive finals matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors.


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