NBA MVP Stephen Curry continues to break records, topping the NBA in scoring with an average of 31.8 points per game, and becoming the first player in NBA history with four-straight seasons totaling 200 or more three-pointers.
Equally, impressive, however, is his leadership performance off the court.
I recently watched & read several interviews with him, including a Time Magazine interview in which Curry explained why he believes he is the best player in the world. I extracted these seven leadership qualities that have helped Curry move from extraordinary to legendary, which are great reminders for all of us as we work to build our best organizations and realize our greatest potential.
1. Keeping the Mindset of a Champion
Elite athletes rise above the rest because of a champion mindset. Curry shared that he has complete confidence he can play at a high level every night. "I feel like anybody who's at the level I am trying to be at, if you don't think that when you're on the floor, then you're doing yourself a disservice." This is why Curry averages 11 3-point shots a game. He has total confidence he will make every shot.
2. Practicing Relatability/Approachability
Approachability results from being transparent and stepping outside of your leadership bubble. Despite his legendary status. Curry works hard to remain approachable and relatable. "Some of the stuff I do on the court is what most people think they can do," he shares. Curry takes his position as a role model seriously, and wants others (especially kids) to believe their goals are attainable with hard work and discipline. "I try to be open and approachable, just because I was around the game with my dad [former NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry], and I knew how it affected people that came in contact with him, and how he made people's days if you just said 'hi' to him."
3. Leading Authentically and Not Trying to Be Someone He's Not
Authentic leaders are happier and more effective leaders. Curry embraces being what his teammate Draymond Green calls "the face of the NBA." He embraces representing the NBA brand, its core values, and living up to the responsibilities that it entails. "The way I try to represent my family & coaches, I think all are characteristics the league aspires to portray. That's just who I am. It's not changing anything about me to fulfill that role."
4. Trusting the Process/Believing in the Bigger Picture
All successful people have faced their share of setbacks, and Curry is no exception. He shared his devastation that many D1 schools wouldn't even look at him, including Duke, North Carolina, Maryland, and Wake Forest. "I really desperately wanted to play ACC basketball...I never even got close to a call. In that moment, I really had to trust that everything happens for a reason."
5. Staying True to Core Strengths
In off-season, Curry is focused on strengthening his greatest strength, rather than "adding stuff to my game." "It was taking what I do well and doing it better and more efficiently."
6. Building Awareness, Knowledge, and Memory About Surroundings
The best leaders know they can't keep their heads down, only focusing on their own environment. They must have "Double Vision" rather than "Tunnel Vision" and scan their surroundings to learn how to react. Curry learns to assess what's happening on the court, and build "the muscle memory and ability to make certain moves."
7. Keeping It All In Perspective
As much as basketball defines Stephen Curry right now, he's committed to not losing his perspective on life. "I'm learning you have to be proactive in that regard...Eventually basketball will end. I have a lot of life to live after that. So I guess my only worry is not to just be defined as a basketball player."
A great lesson for all of us, as we build our own legacies.