In Honor Of March Madness, Why Point Guards Exemplify Sound Leadership

by Elizabeth A. Bert on March 18th, 2013

There are many different styles of leadership, and it’s impossible to say one is superior to the others.  When I was in the corporate world (and being, shall we say, a bit of a sports fan), I was drawn to a leadership model that was admittedly idiosyncratic: that of a point guard.  With March Madness almost upon us, and the nation’s attention turning increasingly to basketball, it seems an opportune time to describe why.

Good point guards of any gender or level – high school, college, NBA, WNBA – embody numerous qualities of admirable business leaders.   Here are six of them.

They’re selfless.  Their initial impulse is to involve others and promote teamwork. Point guards distribute the ball; they look to pass first and shoot second.  Their concern is for the good of the organization, not individual accolades.

They have vision.  They understand the environment around them.  Like visionary CEOs, point guards see the whole court – its opportunities and threats – better than anyone else on it.

They make others on their team better.  This is a key attribute of all good point guards.  Is there a more important quality for an effective business leader?

They’re great collaborators.  No complex project or enterprise succeeds without widespread collaboration.  Point guards are the glue that holds a team together.  Oh sure, now and then you’ll have a unique talent like a Michael Jordan or Lebron James who plays another position, but most often this central role belongs to a point guard.

They’re prudent risk managers.  Every business needs clear consciousness of risk.  (How soon we forget 2008.)  Controlling the pace and flow of a chaotic game is no easy task.   Too many fancy passes, or ill-advised risks (too much “French Pastry” as the late great coach and commentator Al McGuire would say), and you’re back on the bench.

They do critical but less glamorous work, content to give others the spotlight.  Is anything in basketball harder and more taken for granted than bringing up the ball against full court pressure?  Assists are less glorified than points, but no less important.  Good point guards are content to let scorers gain the attention.  In the management world we’d say, “Take accountability, give praise.”

The greatest point guard ever?  I believe few would disagree with a choice of Magic Johnson.  Coincidentally (or perhaps not), he’s an exceptional business person with an empire estimated at over $700 million.

So as you follow the NCAA tournament this year, and debate whether the best point guard is Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State… or Trey Burke of Michigan… or some dark horse from a Cinderella school most people haven’t heard of yet… this can give you another lens through which to view the action.  Another excuse to watch more of The Madness.

This article first appeared at Victor Lipman, Contributor

Posted in Leadership Development    Tagged with march madness, leadership, NBA


Leave a Comment


follow on