Growing up in Ohio, I had the pleasure of watching LeBron James play basketball in high school. Even when he was a teenager, it was amazing to see his understanding of the game. With his athletic ability, he could pretty much do whatever we wanted with the basketball. What stuck out the most to me though was his diversity in his skill sets.

Even today, one of the reasons James is so dominant in basketball is his ability to play any position on the floor. It's been said that early in his career, he forced himself to practice at positions on the team that we was not expected to play. This has now given him the ability to become such an asset because he can go wherever the team needs him the most. While an incredible talent, LeBron isn't the only athlete to do this. Other players like Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan excelled at this as well.

To become a better team member for your startup, take a lesson from athletes like LeBron James. While we all have a set of strengths, being able to diversify allows us to be able to help in many more places with our company. To do this effectively, focus on strengthening these core areas. Being able to excel at all three will help you become a better team member and push your company forward much faster.

1. Sales

Everyone on your team should have basic sales training. It is a huge impediment to have someone on your team who is unable to communicate with customers. We see this happen with developers all the time. When speaking with a client who is non-technical, the challenge is speaking in words he or she will understand. By being able to make a customer feel good, you become a huge asset to your company no matter what your position is.

In a startup, great customer service is crucial. It affects your brand, future customers, and your reputation. To learn this skill, practice talking with customers as much as possible. Study your target market in and out, and be able to learn to see through their point of view. Too many companies speak to clients without first understanding the customer's wants and needs. This leads to poor communication. Be the one on the team who "gets" the customer the most, and your team will rely on you time and time again.

2. Development

Get to know the basics of building software. When we first started our company, I remember getting ripped off on a development deal early on. I promised myself I would never let that mistake happen again, so I enrolled in a coding bootcamp. While I had to take three months away from pushing my startup, it has helped me time an time again leading the company.

When you know how creating software works, you'll be more effective in every part of your business. If you're in sales, you'll be able to handle questions on the technical end without having to bring someone else in. If you're the CEO, you'll have better conversations with your development team. And if you're the visionary, you'll be able to understand some of the technical work required to make your vision come true. I think learning basic coding skills is like lifting weights as a basketball player. No matter what position you play, it'll help increase your ability.

3. Leading

Leadership is by far one of the hardest skills to learn. There are so many factors that go into making a great leader that you must continually focus on improving this skill to become great at it. A common misconception is that only CEOs and executives are leaders. This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, the best assets to any startup CEO are team members who are great leaders.

When you have someone else on the team who is helping you lead the company, your entire organization improves. Employees who lead the ones who can rally the rest of the team behind your cause, and help get everyone on the same page. Push to become a great leader in your company, and your entire organization will get behind you.

Published on: Mar 31, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.