Several weeks ago I posted 'The Wisdom of Jeff Van Gundy' - a little piece highlighting the sage advice of the former NBA coach and current announcer with respect to developing leadership capability throughout the organization.
Well JVG the Wise is at it again.
During a broadcast of a Los Angeles Lakers game this week, in a timeout while the Laker team was in a huddle, the Laker coach Phil Jackson was overheard on audio encouraging/admonishing/coaching star player Kobe Bryant to get more aggressive and attack the basket more strongly on offense.
For the non-basketball fans reading this post (assuming you haven't bailed by now), Kobe Bryant is by far the best player on the team, the team leader, and one of the very best players in NBA history. He has four league championships, an Olympic gold medal, a league Most Valuable Player trophy, numerous All-Star game appearances and league scoring titles.
In HR or workforce terms he is a 'Top Performer', 'A-player', 'rockstar', take your pick.
So in the huddle, as the viewers listened to Coach Jackson talk to Bryant, JVG the Wise offered up this comment:
See this is why Phil Jackson is a great leader. He is not afraid to coach his best player. He needs his best player to get more aggressive and is not shy about letting him know. That sends a message to everyone on the team, that if the star player can be coached, then everyone else can as well.
JVG is on to something here, I think. When the coach singles out the team's best player and gives some instruction, feedback, or direction it makes such an important statement to the both the star (Bryant) and the rest of the team (other guys that are all talented in their own right, and may at times feel they might be 'above' coaching as well).
The star gets the message that being the 'star' means delivering great performance, and that they simply can't be satisfied with what they have achieved in the past. The rest of the team sees that the top performer still has room to improve and can be coached and guided.
Inside sports teams and often in work teams it becomes clear who the top performers are. It really isn't much of a secret. When these stars set the right example, if they can be coached, if they continue to try and make themselves better, while realizing that the team objectives are primary, the team has a much better chance for enduring success.
To win a team needs a star. But it also needs a coach that is not afraid to coach that star.
And that is this edition of the Wisdom of Jeff Van Gundy.