Many people know Lebron James as “that basketball player”, but not many know him as a leader. His decision to return to his old team, in his home state, only further solidified his place as one of the best leaders in sports today — but I don’t want to talk about that.
I want to talk about the leadership that Lebron demonstrates while playing the game he loves. He does three things particularly well on the court that separate himself from his peers:
- He gets his teammates involved in the game early, and consciously looks to get them easy baskets in the first quarter.
The greatest players have always been able to get their teammates involved, and raise them up to their level of play. This characteristic is true in most great as they are able to create other leaders around them.
- He makes the right basketball play, no matter what the situation.
Even with the game on the line, Lebron shows trust in his teammates by selflessly passing them the ball for the game-winner. He has always been criticized for passing up game-winning shots throughout his career, despite making the correct play the majority of the time. He is a great leader because he has trust in the people around him, and is not afraid to defer to them — he trusts them to get the job done.
- He never blames anyone.
Despite being pestered and prodded to say something about his coach drawing up a poor play or his teammates not playing well, he never places blame on anyone. In fact, he usually offers praise and supports them — most of the time saying he trusts them to call the right play or make the shot. True leaders always have their teammates back, and never throw anyone under the bus.
These are just three of the many leadership qualities that Lebron James possesses. Anyone who wants to learn about leadership in sports should pay attention to Lebron James, both on the court and off it.