Entrepreneurs exhibit various leadership styles in their businesses. Some are hierarchical and imperial. They are the boss and everyone knows it. I have heard that a current public leader has told subordinates that he does not pay them to think or have opinions; he pays them to do what he tells them to do. I recently observed a discussion with another entrepreneur who was protesting that someone was discussing an issue with his “people.” He summed up his style by saying: “I have no people, there is only me. I am the only one in my organization that makes decisions.” The business he runs is a multistate chain of distribution outlets. Neither of these organizations seems like it would be a fulfilling place to work for most of our readers.
The onset of March Madness seems like an appropriate time to focus on another style of leadership that is displayed on the hardwood – point guard leadership. The role of the point guard is to implement the coach’s game plan. He or she provides leadership in the midst of the chaos of competition by controlling the tempo of the game and distributing the ball in a fashion that plays to the strengths of teammates. Point guards are seldom the team’s biggest star and usually do not lead the team in points scored or rebounds. They also are not typically the one to take the last second shot, but their leadership is critical on the outcome of the game.
This month’s interviewee, Gary Williams was a point guard during his playing career at Maryland and is one of many former point guards to succeed at the coaching level. Most talented people would rather work in an organization that is led by someone who leads like a point guard. Someone who distributes responsibility, plays to people’s strengths, gets tasks to the appropriate people at the appropriate time and who is motivated by the team’s ultimate success rather than personal recognition.
How do you lead – emperor or point guard?