This week the country has been atwitter about Steve Kerr handing over the Golden State Warriors to the team. Yes, the head coach of one of the top professional basketball teams turned over coaching to his players this week…in season for a real game!
Steve Kerr has one of the most successful starts as a professional basketball coach by winning two NBA championships in his first three years. But despite the obvious intelligence and coaching ability, the Golden State Warriors have been struggling a little lately. Kerr admitted that he was having a hard time reaching his team, that they were perhaps tired of listening to him or had grown immune to hearing him. So he decided to shake things up.
First he handed over shooting practice Monday morning to Andre Iguodala with JaVale McGee running the computer as they watched play film. And then…he handed over most of the coaching of the Warriors games against the Phoenix Suns to Iguodala along with David West and Draymond Green. Draymond Green was out as a player for the game due to an injury, so he ran the team for the majority of the time with Iguodala and West filling in during timeouts.
And it worked. The Warriors handily beat the Suns by 40 points. So what does this teach us all? Trust is often the biggest struggle to success. And Steve Kerr just proved that sometimes the boss has to completely let go and trust his team to move forward. So how can you use this in your work life? Let’s take a look!
- Use YOUR emotional intelligence. What this means is that you need to pay attention to your people. Observe their efforts, do they seem engaged or merely going through the motions. If you have an office full of people doing their jobs but not really engaged you’re going to need to…
- …empower your team. How you do this will depend on your industry. But some basic ways is to offer training to expand their own expertise; give them new tools to increase their own efficiency or ability to get the job done. Perhaps you need to change the office culture, open your door physically and figuratively. Let your employees know that you value their opinion and input and would like to hear from them…good or bad. And look for ways to allow people to step up and lead. Not everyone will want this, but if there is a new project, contest, community fundraising drive you are starting, ask an employee to spearhead the effort. Give them the parameters but then trust them to execute the project fully. You will hopefully give your employee a renewed sense of appreciation by the company and a healthy sense of accomplishment.
- Encourage your employees to THINK! Oftentimes, tasks become rote leaving many people doing a fine job but in a methodical, almost robotic manner. This can lead people to stop caring or desiring to go beyond where they are. Instead, encourage your people to go outside their usual comfort zone. Stop being the one stop question and answer maven, encourage them to learn a new skill on their own. It’s really easy to ask even the most basic of questions rather than seeking out the answer. BUT if you encourage your team to seek the knowledge, they will become more independent and take more ownership of their job. This is a win-win for everyone. Once you encourage people to seek knowledge for a simple task, they often will empower themselves to branch out and look to learn to enhance their knowledge, thus creating more invested and engaged employees.
What Steve Kerr realized was that he was surrounded by extremely talented people and that he needed to trust that they would take the lead and push to succeed as a team. Sure your office is not full of professional athletes, but people want to know that management has faith in their abilities and willing to trust them as a team to succeed. Loosening the reins may be scary at first, but if you put in checkpoints and consistently encourage open communication you could find your “team” creating a new and innovative game plan.