“Why should I shake their hands, LeBron doesn’t,” said Patrick’s nine year-old son.
I know it drives some of you nuts when I bring sports analogies into the discussion of leadership, but I strongly believe role modeling and the resulting imitation is a big part of being a leader.
The Orlando Magic was victorious over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. LeBron “the King” James was surprisingly upset by Orlando because they acted and played as a team. Although I was publicly hoping for a Cleveland-LA match-up in the finals, such is basketball.
At the series conclusion, LeBron James walked off the court, did not congratulate the other team and skipped the post game news conference. James said, “It doesn’t make sense for me to go over and shake somebody’s hand.” Whether or not Mr. James understands this at age 24, he was thrust in a position of power and many people (young and old) look up to him. Even though it was brief, LeBron forgot the basics and went into a “me” world forgetting that it is not about him, it is about the people. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports explained it well.
It is in the worst of times when great leaders are tested for to see if their true values come through. Some bend the rules or avoid the tough decisions. Others stand up and do the right thing.
Have you observed a strong leader do the right thing in a tough situation? Did it result in more respect for the leader?