One of the greatest joys of my career in sports, was working in the same office as coach, Steve Kerr.
At the time, he wasn’t a coach. He was the GM of the Phoenix Suns when I was overseeing the team’s group sales efforts. Coach or GM, Steve was always a leader.
I’ve worked for many orgs in sports, & at most, the biz ops group & the sports ops group exist as if they don’t know one another. Couldn’t be further from the case w Steve in charge of Suns b-ball ops. He would attend every single wkly biz mtg led by our team president, & would actively come over when mtgs were done & ask how he & the team could help. On the group sales side of things this meant partnering on coaching clinics, having players meet w fans post game, & even himself, getting on the phones for some calls to our fans.
This post isn’t abt sports or business though. It’s abt being a leader & making it “ok” for others to speak up when they need to. Steve encouraged input & it’s why I’m not surprised he’s having the success he is, winning titles as a coach (whether you think he has a super team or not).
Watch clips of him & his stars & you’ll see he openly encourages feedback & discussion.
I can’t tell you how many locations we visit, where when we meet w attendees individually, the feedback goes something like this: “My parents, siblings, teachers, &/or coaches never let me talk about this.” The “this” I’m referring to – is what’s been going on in their lives.
All of the “positions” above come w leadership responsibilities/impact. A parent believing a child shouldn’t share emotions…a sibling calling their brother/sister weak…a coach saying that we must be mentally tough & just forget it & move on to the next one, are all examples of a leader making it not “ok to say” what’s on one’s mind.
I never realized till I got into this space, how much leaders impact what is “allowed” under their watch. But as we see suicide rates, opioid abuse, & the like rise, it’s time we took a universal stance that: making it ok to say what’s on our minds is not only healthy, it’s what drives success. Watching Steve w his players now is a joy bc he knows success comes from encouraging the openness.