He was one of the greatest of all-time. He might have been the greatest. Regardless, Kobe Bryant left a legacy on the game of basketball that will resonate for many years to come. One of his greatest attributes was his ability to lead.
Bryant was able to lead his Lakers teammates in a variety of ways. Leaders do not always have to be the most vocal guys on their team or in their office. Sometimes, it is simply leading by example and Bryant was an outstanding role model in that respect. Bryant possessed a few key qualities that allowed him to become an almost de facto leader.
If you want others to follow, you need to know where you are going. That means you have to have a plant to get there. Bryant aspired to basketball greatness. He knew where he wanted to go – win NBA championships – and had to figure out how to get there.
Successful leaders know what they want most and they will unapologetically pursue it. They make sacrifices and those around them see it. This inspires other to share in that passion and make it their own. Bryant inspired his teammates and even those in the Lakers front office to reach their goals as well.
There was a time when Jay Williams decided he would head out to the arena early to prepare for a Lakers game. Williams was four hours early for the game. Bryant was already there and had been preparing himself for the night’s contest.
Even when you are more talented than everyone else, you have to put in the work. Again, putting in the work is something that will inspire others to do the same.
Change Is Constant
You cannot continue to simply do the same thing over and over. As an athlete, teams change from year to year. Skills deteriorate and diminish. Things are always changing and the best of the best will continue to reinvent themselves. Understand that change is constant and change with it. Others will follow if you lead the way.
It’s a familiar line that Bryant always remembered. “No one learned anything by hearing themselves speak.” It stuck with Bryant and should stick with anyone who wants to be a leader. You have to listen to those around you. Oftentimes, those around you can help you lead while they follow.