Today’s business leaders could learn a few plays from the coaches and players who fulfill leadership roles on the basketball court every day. The role of a leader on a sports team is often vital to the overall success of the team.

With a strong leader in charge, a team is be able to identify a common goal and work together toward it. Good leaders provide a sense of direction, whether it is leading a project or rallying a team in the final moments of the NCAA Championship game. Strong leaders can be relied on to make the right decisions in the clutch moments of a game or project cycle.

A good leader takes responsibility for their actions, motivates the team, promotes a strong work ethic and is flexible when faced with unexpected challenges. In addition, the values of a leader on the court align with that of a good leader in the business world.

Be Accountable

Good leaders hold themselves and their team accountable. According to the 2015 Workplace Accountability Study, 91% of respondents indicated that they believe the ability to be accountable is needed the most when it comes to the development of leaders within an organization.

Holding others accountable is not an opportunity to point fingers, but rather a chance to recognize that a mistake has been made, correct it and make adjustments to avoid the issue in the future.

Mistakes happen in the workplace and on the basketball court, but a good leader will call a timeout and focus on creating a culture centered on accountability. This type of culture encourages teammates to address issues in a direct and respectful way, and can help limit negativity and poor morale.

Encourage Self-Motivation

On a sports team, players are usually motivated by their own internal desire to win. The key phrase here is “internal desire.” That is why a good leader encourages self-motivation. Scott Mabry, author and Senior Operations Leader in Financial Services said that he prefers to spend less time directly motivating his team and more time fostering self-motivation.

“I focus on creating an environment where people will find their own internal motivations,” he said. “Care about your team members, get to know what inspires them on a personal level and create a culture designed to encourage both individual and team success.”

Self-motivation in the workplace helps cut down on micromanaging and gives people in leadership roles more time to focus on bigger initiatives within the company.

Promote Good Work Ethic

Talent is one small part of what it takes to build a successful basketball team, and the same goes for a team of employees in the workplace. Oftentimes, a team working together with a strong work ethic will trump a team that relies on individual talent alone. In sports and in the business world, talent is important, but it can only take someone so far on its own. A good attitude and work ethic can separate the good teams from the great ones.

Good work ethic is vital when it comes to the success of a company too, and every employee should have a strong work ethic to keep the company functioning as it should be. A positive work ethic can be summarized by five factors: discipline, integrity, teamwork, responsibility and a focus on quality.

Be Flexible

Conditions are constantly in flux on the basketball court and in business, which is why adaptability is an important part of being a good leader. Change is often unavoidable and it’s up to leaders to recognize when something isn’t working and adapt. In basketball, the strategy may be working at the beginning of the game, but may be useless when the opposing team adjusts to it.

A good coach knows when to call timeout, calm the team down and design a new strategy to counteract the problem. It doesn’t end there. One option may work, while another fails. It’s up to the team leader to continually make adjustments to stay ahead of the competition.

In business, being adaptable sometimes requires scrapping a plan if it’s not working, and coming up with an alternative solution. A flexible business leader should remain calm and collected when faced with adversity, communicate clearly to the team, and have the confidence to make a quick decision if faced with an unexpected challenge.

Leaders who demonstrate these qualities can gain the respect of team members and increase the likelihood of team and company success.

Provided by: https://www.villanovau.com/resources/leadership/basketball-and-leadership/

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