Lessons in Leadership from LeBron James

The NBA finals have come to an end, and the Cleveland Cavaliers have made history by securing their first NBA championship in franchise history, as well as becoming the first Cleveland sports team to win a championship in a very long 52 years. As a native Northeast Ohioan, I’ve experienced first hand what has seemed to be a curse against Cleveland teams in every sport. Last week, however, while attending the Cavaliers championship parade and rally, I realized there was more than just athleticism and talent that led Cleveland to the finals. Cleveland broke that curse and brought a championship back to Cleveland because of unbelievable leadership.

Love him or hate him, it is undeniable that LeBron James is an incredible leader. While many people were less than thrilled when LeBron decided to “take his talents to South Beach”, most were happy and accepting when he announced in an apologetic letter that he was coming home to continue his career in Cleveland. While his talent is irreplaceable, it is his outstanding leadership skills that molded and inspired the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers championship team. While you probably won’t be leading an NBA team to the finals anytime soon, there are still some lessons on leadership you can learn from “The King” that can be used to successfully lead your professional team.

Set Goals

When LeBron came back to Cleveland, he set one clear goal: he was going to bring a championship trophy to the very deserving city. He knew it wasn’t going to be an easy task, but he came up with a plan in order to achieve his goal. After losing to the Golden State Warriors in game 6 of the finals last year, LeBron wasn’t discouraged and quickly got back to work preparing for the following season.

In a work setting, carving out specific goals is extremely important, especially in a leadership role. While personal goals are helpful, setting goals for an entire team is crucial. Having something to work towards will motivate and drive a team towards success. While things may not always go as planned and there may be some failures along the way, remembering the end goal will keep the team on track.

Never Give Up

Once the Cavs were down 3-1 in the finals, many people counted them out and believed the Golden State Warriors would once again take the championship trophy back to San Francisco. Talk of the fact that no team in history has ever come back from being down 3-1 and doubts from critics could have gotten into the heads of the Cavaliers, bringing down their spirits. LeBron and the
rest of the Cavaliers team, however, knew it wasn’t over until it was over. LeBron found inspiration in the doubters and gave his all until the very end.

In business, it is easy to listen to critics and want to give up because the odds may not be in your favor. Rather than letting the
negativity discourage you, choose to use that as motivation and prove the doubters wrong. Keep a positive attitude, lead by example, and show your team you will not be giving up.

Understand the Importance of Teamwork

At the championship rally in Cleveland last week, it became very clear how proud LeBron James was of the Cavaliers team. When he got up to speak, he addressed each player individually thanking them and discussing how they helped bring the championship home. LeBron fully understands that while his talent was vital to the Cavaliers success, without the rest of the team working together they would not have defeated Golden State. He knew when he came back to Cleveland he would have to take advantage of the skills of each individual player and mold them together to form one solid unit.

Working together as a solid unit is just as important for NBA players as it is for a professional team. Each member brings something different to the table, and as a leader you must recognize how to assemble a strong team where each individual talent will be combined to benefit the team as a whole.

While raw talent and hard work are obviously vital factors to winning, without great leadership, success is a much harder task. With the help of LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers made history with their game 7 victory over Golden State. What many said could not be done, was done, and the Cavs have the trophy to prove it. While the Cavs will be busy celebrating for the next few months, it’s your turn to channel your inner LeBron, get the champagne ready, and lead your team to success.

About the Author

Cailyn_Chrystal_ProfileCailyn Chrystal is a Project Manager at 898 Marketing.  Cailyn develops strategies and manages implementation of content through social media channels for 898 Marketing and it’s clients, as well as optimization strategies for websites and content. Cailyn is a native of Youngstown, Ohio, and a graduate of Duquesne University where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing Communications.