“He’s a leader, and he doesn’t care about tenure.” That’s what then-coach Mark Jackson said about Draymond Green in his rookie year with the Golden State Warriors. Right from the start it was clear that “guys embrace him because they realize he doesn’t just do it when he’s playing well and when we’re winning. He does it in the face of adversity.”
And it seems that nothing has changed. Green’s widely recognized role as the heart and soul of the Warriors has only grown, and the force of his skill as a player and prowess as a leader have become integral to the team’s vast success.
He’s vocal and colorful both on-court and off, which has drawn both praise and criticism, but at the end of the day, Draymond Green is the ultimate team player. As an athlete, he’s infinitely adaptable and unwaveringly hardworking – and as a team leader, he’s relentlessly loyal and electric in his ability to motivate.
No matter what team you’re rooting for in The Finals, there’s a lot to be learned from Green’s playbook. Here at Glassdoor, we’re obsessed with understanding the unique skills employed by top leaders in any vocation, so we stole – well, asked for, actually – a page from that book.
Here are Draymond Green’s tips for bringing your best game to the office:
#1: Rally Behind Your Mission
Your mission as an organization is your driving force. It’s what keeps people motivated when the going gets rough. Make sure your team knows what they’re fighting for! If it’s The Championship Title, make that blazingly clear. If it’s to get on the Glassdoor Best Places to Work list, make sure that mission is shouted from the cube-tops. And if you’re looking to hit a certain earnings number, have it etched on the elevators and painted on the walls.
#2: Set Clear Goals
Every organization has to keep their eye on their Key Performance Indicators. Your KPIs help you track where you are on your path toward accomplishing your mission. They break it down into manageable bite-size pieces that can be taken down voraciously on the daily. The Warriors are athletes at heart, but they too can be motivated by deep analysis. Same goes for writers, designers, marketers, developers, manufacturers – you name it – anyone and everyone can benefit from understanding how to look at the numbers to understand patterns and opportunities for growth.
“Most of our work is done off the court. Watching film, studying opponents and keeping our routines fresh motivates us to work towards our goal one day at a time.”
#3: Burn Adversity for Fuel
Rule number 1: There will always be adversity. Rule number 2: If you don’t learn to be fueled by adversity, it will consume you. You hear a lot of hackneyed statements like “Learn from mistakes” or “every loss has a silver lining.” Green knows that on paper that’s all true, but that in reality you have to learn to set those silver linings aflame and then breathe fire. And, yes, in the meantime, take the time to discuss what went wrong and how to prevent the same thing from happening in the future.
“It’s no secret that I’m fueled by adversity. All I can do is control what I do and stay focused every day. The rest will take care of itself in the long term.”
#4: Foster Good Chemistry
Anyone who’s ever played on a winning team – or worked for a winning company – knows that you can have a ton of talent, but without chemistry it doesn’t take you far enough. Fostering teamwork has to take place both on the court or in the office and anywhere but the court or office. Getting to know one another and learning to have fun together is crucial, but even just spending lots of time together in environments that are more relaxed than on the court can open you up to being in sync. And you can see it right away when any kind of team is aligned like that – performance is high, and it looks fluid and effortless.
#5: Diffuse Stress and Frustration
Just last week, the the Warriors played a game against the Utah Jazz where a little humor on the court might have been Green’s most skilled move of the game. When you recognize that stress or frustration is getting the best of a team member, a little levity goes a long way. Knowing your audience is key – you have to say or do just the right thing to help them dial in a more constructive emotion so they can quickly gain composure. And this one correlates to the good chemistry piece. The more you know your teammates, the better you can help steer them back on course – so they can crush.
“Every person responds differently to communication and feedback. Knowing how your team (and your competition) respond to things you say and do to motivate them makes your communication more effective. It’s a game within a game.”
#6: Play to your strengths
This one is about both knowing your own strengths and understanding those of your teammates – and playing hard to them. Green has talked openly about playing to his own strengths: “I like to watch and think about a lot of stuff on the basketball court, and I continue to study the game, because my IQ has to be the strongest part of my game. I know I’m not the most athletic, not the fastest, not the strongest, not the quickest and not the highest jumper. My understanding of the game can’t come to a standstill, or my improvement will come to a standstill.” Likewise, to get the best out of your teammates, it’s crucial to understand where they excel, where their weaknesses are, what motivates them, and what’s a stumbling block.
#7: Celebrate Wins
It’s super obvious when there’s confetti falling from the ceiling, fans rushing the court, and Champagne being popped that it’s time to celebrate. But it’s also important to recognize the smaller more subtle wins that happen along the way. Green is all for celebrating wins of all kinds, whenever possible – and always giving credit where credit is due.
#8: Work Your A$$ Off
And, most importantly, you yourself have to show up and put in the work every damn day. It’s infectious, and team members feed off of that work ethic. Green doesn’t feel great every single day on the court, but he always gives 100%. And then some.
Each and every one of these strategies for firing up your team is an act of discipline that becomes somewhat automatic over time. And if you can show up every day and put into place the habits you’ve carefully developed, the payoff is enormous for everyone: your organization, your team members, your personal satisfaction, and your biggest fans – whomever they may be.
For more on how to light a fire (in a good way) under employees to get them engaged and build thriving teams, download the Complete Guide to Employee Engagement Activities.