I am currently reading, what I feel is a robust management and leadership book- Red and Me, written by Bill Russell and Alan Steinberg. The book is a passionate reflection on Bill Russell’s connection with Red Auerbach his coach while he played with the Celtics. There are some real pearls in the book, and for me, today’s pearl-a reporter asked Red, “How do you get along with all those stars?” Red’s reply was, ” There’s ten of them and one of me. Let them get along with me!”.
As a Management and Leadership Coach I found Red’s argument insightful. Red was a great coach, but he might have been an even better leader. Red understood the difference between management and leadership. As a manager, it was necessary to him that the players focused on getting along with him, and following the agenda he set forth. As a leader, he asked for their input and respected that everyone on the team had value. Red set the team structure as a result of the input and what he received from the team, but once that agenda was set he expected it to be followed unless a player gave him another perspective to consider.
As a manager, what is your style? Are you trying to please your staff or are they trying to please you? In both instances in it probably does not lead to profitable exchanges. As a leader, solicit input, listen to feedback, and follow your instincts once you have done that manage your department or organization with Red’s perspective.
Side note: I am an avid New York fan and couldn’t stand the Celtics growing up. I moved to L.A and became a Laker fan during showtime with Magic and Cap. I learned to respect Larry Bird- Still luvv Bernard King and thanks to Martha for gifting me with Red and Me. Contact me at JeromeGreen.com for information about my services as an Executive Management and Leadership and Life Skills Coach.