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Leadership is Lonely | Mamba Mondays

Being a leader is hard. You have to hold yourself accountable, and you have to hold the people around you accountable. To effectively hold others accountable, you have to be willing to do everything you are asking, or demanding, them to do.

The leader has to establish what we are going to do and how we are going to do it. Then, they have to make sure that we are all living up to the expectations that they set while also making sure that others do the same.

This can lead to conflict and confrontation, and that isn't always easy. Kobe Bryant has a good quote about leadership and conflict:

Leadership is lonely. I’m not going to be afraid of confrontation to get us where we need to go. There's a big misconception where people think that winning and success comes from everybody putting their arms around each other and singing kumbaya and patting them on the back when they mess up, and that’s just not reality. If you are going to be a leader, you’re not going to please everybody. You have to hold people accountable, even if you have that moment of being uncomfortable.

Leadership is lonely because very few people naturally want to do want it takes to be a winner. But part of the role of being a leader is making people do things that they don’t want to do so that they can earn the things that they want to earn.

Michael Jordan had a legendary monologue in the documentary, The Last Dance, that outlines his leadership style. Toward the end of the documentary, he said:

You ask all my teammates, the one thing about Michael Jordan was, ‘He never asked me to do something he didn’t do.’ When people see this, they are going to say, ‘Well he wasn’t really a nice guy. He may have been a tyrant.’ I wanted to win, and I wanted them to win and be a part of that as well. It is who I am. That’s how I played the game. That was my mentality. If you don’t want to play that way, don’t play that way.

I tell my athletes, that you have to push each other and hold each other accountable, but you can’t be a leader if you don’t have followers or if you aren’t leading anyone anywhere.

You can’t yell just to yell, and you can’t talk just to talk. You have to have substance to what you are saying, what you are saying has to help people do and be better, and you have to be willing to do what you are asking, or expecting, others to do.


1 – Who is the best leader you have ever been around?

2 – What made them such a great leader?

3 – How did they build people up?

4 – How did they hold people accountable?

5 – How did they handle conflict?

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