Everybody wants the promotion, but not everybody realizes the responsibility of stepping into the limelight. This happens in corporate America, startups, politics, and sports. Kyrie Irving of the NBA's Boston Celtics is a great example of this phenomenon.
In the summer of 2017, under the leadership of Lebron James, Irving demanded a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers that ultimately landed him on the Boston Celtics. Irving made it crystal clear he wanted to lead his own team.
Nearly a year and a half later Irving is learning just how difficult it is to lead a team of his own. So much so, that in the course of just a few weeks he blew up at his Coach Brad Stevens on the court, criticized his younger teammates publically, and cast a rather dark shadow over his ability to lead and the organization.
After the team broke a three game losing streak on Wednesday night, Irving revealed a surprising call he made to the leader of his previous team, LeBron James.
"Obviously, this was a big deal for me, because I had to call [LeBron] and tell him I apologized for being that young player that wanted everything at his fingertips, and I wanted everything at my threshold," Irving continued, "I wanted to be the guy that led us to a championship. I wanted to be the leader. I wanted to be all that, and the responsibility of being the best in the world and leading your team is something that is not meant for many people."
While I have written about LeBron and his leadership before, Irving's revelation is a powerful one for us all.
Leadership isn't a one-person game.
Ultimately leaderhip is about other people and helping elevate the entire team to higher levels of performance. This requires a completely different commitment and skill set than just being an individual contributor.
While Irving might not have understood this two years ago when he demanded the trade, there is no doubt he understands it now.
Whether you aspire to step into the limelight or not, don't make the same mistake as Kyrie did. If you do find yourself leading, seek the mentorship of someone who has done it before to help you moving forward, regardless of how hard that call might be.