I was watching the NBA championship game Sunday night between the L.A. Lakers and the Orlando Magic. The Lakers easily won their 15th championship as a franchise and the 10th for head coach Phil Jackson. That’s a new NBA record.
After the game Lakers guard Derek Fisher was asked what made Jackson such a great coach. Without hesitation he said that that Jackson didn’t coach them as much as he “empowered” them to succeed.
Jackson made the team believe in his system and in their ability to execute it successfully. Then he allowed them the freedom to express themselves within that system.
What a wonderful thing to say and what a wonderful way to play. A coach who empowers his or her players gives up a certain amount of control, but in the long run builds a team that believes in itself.
One of Phil Jackson’s favorite sayings is, “The strength of the wolf is the pack, and the strength of the pack is the wolf.”
Empower you players, don’t rule them.