How to become a (real) leader, by Kobe Bryant!
I’ve finally watched the famous Kobe Bryant’s interview, conducted by Ahmad Rashad. Let’s be clear: it almost doesn’t deal with NBA but leadership! I’ve never been a huge fan of Kobe because i’ve always considered him more individualistic than Michael Jordan. I guess I was wrong (or that at least this communication operation was great ;). His answers seemed really genuine so i wanted to share them.
1. Passion is the beginning of everything
This question is the first one, but it also could be the last one: can a great leader show no passion? As far as he can remember, Kobe has always wanted to become a NBA player. Nothing more, nothing less. He’s always watched basket-ball games, he loves the « switch » you can hear when you hit a 3-points, but he misses the other « switch » you could hear in the 70s because the nets was different. He loves the players, he loves the details, he loves everything about basket-ball.
2. Obsession is something else
Ok, reading these lines you say: that’s ok, i’m a passionate, i could be a leader. But are you obsessed? What you really understand when you watch the interview is that Kobe is not only passionate, is literally obsessed! It means that he has never imagined doing something else that playing basket-ball. And even more: becoming on the best players ever. So when you walk, when you eat, even when you sleep, you thing about your passion, just being afraid it could become a hobby and not your whole life.
3. You’ve got to be humble
Ok, ok… That’s not the first word that pops up in mind when you thing about Kobe. But actually he is. Why? Because he has no problem taking his phone to call whoever he thinks could learn him something. A little something, an outstanding something, but something. A very touching scene shows the young Kobe asking Michael Jordan during a game how to improve on defense. But after, all, it’s just common sense. You can only feed an empty shell, so get your ego out of the shell and learn ;)
4. You’ve got to want more
One thing is sure: it’s never enough for Kobe. When he gets 3 titles, he just keeps in mind that Michael Jordan’s got 6, and that these titles could be seen as the ones of Shaq…. So he thinks about the next step. That is a key that allows to always look forward and continue to improve.
5. It’s all about knowing if you will be able to male it or not
The biggest competition of Kobe is not against the others players, it’s against himself! He’s been wounded twice those past few months, and he had to keep away from the game. Each time, he knows (considering is age and body) that it would be difficult to recover. Actually, he has never been sure that he could. And that was the very purpose of all the work and efforts he makes to do so: knowing if will be able or not. It’s all about challenges, that’s a king of drug that bring real leaders to go further.
6. You cannot be selfish
Because he remembers when he was just a child, looking at the stars giving their best, he wants to be at his best all the time. It doesn’t matter if he’s sick, exhausted, or I don’t know what. He just thinks that for this kid on the bench, waiting to see some magic during the game, he will give his best.
7. Still, you’ve got to be wise
But when you know you’re physically not at your best, adapt your game to your capacities. Wisdom and adaptation are part of the leader package ;)
8. Make other people better
Being a star is one thing, being able to make the other improve their game, in order to win the title together, as a team, is another thing. That’s what Phil Jackson helped him to do, going from a gifted player to a teamworker… and to a leader.
9. Focus on your beliefs, your vision, and not on what people say
Whatever people can say about you, whether it’s good or not, we’ve got to keep in mind that it concerns our work – here the game – and not us. Being able to remember this distinction is a crucial asset.
10. And whatever happen, keep knocking on the door of success…
… because with the 9 previous points, if you do this, you will win… and be a real leader!