Since the Detroit Pistons lost recently in the playoffs, I have been following the leadership genius of Detroit’s GM-Joe Dumars’ moves as he navigates through the crisis with his flailing team.
From afar and knowing the little that I know about Dumars, he is a respectful and very well liked individual. And he is lauded as a leader of a diverse group of folks. Joe is also known for making many great moves to get to a championship level of a team. At the same time, many will also remember that he missed the likes of Dwayne Wade and Carmelo Anthony for an unknown Darko Milicic who is still an unknown. He is not perfect but has a great track record.
While observing Dumars’ responses to his floundering team, I thought it was great how he maneuvers through distributing the blame where it maybe due, including on himself. He is one who won’t budge on excellence and hard work. But he is all bent set on his goal…a championship team. He does this by being a calculated risk taker while always treating individuals with class. He is a prototype of HR management/leadership to me.
My latest favorite Dumar’s quote for his team’s creed is this:
‘It’s not about being right, it’s about getting it right.’
I had to rethink this for a few seconds and found it profoundly true in life and leadership.
As a leader, if I were about being right, then, I would do alot to cover up my mistakes. If I were about the first, I would also not admit I was ever wrong thus, at times preventing me from making the right adjustments or corrections. If I were about being right only, then I may also hinder myself from loving people and doing what it takes to confess and repent as needed in relationships.
I love Dumar’s team creed, it reveals so much the heart of an authentic person. That the most important thing in life is not about being right….but about getting it right to do what is best for each situation and for loving relationships in God’s sight. And what is more paramount is not about being right, but about what can happen when one is actually wrong. That indeed, God is a God who sees our sins and short comings and yet, he always redirects us to getting it right with Him via the hope of the Gospel.
I literally have recollections from my leadership experience where I remember being tempted to just appear to be right and just go on as if life is as it should be. And at various times, I’d hear the voice of God nudging me to say: ‘So, Margaret, you would rather be right and look like you did the right thing, then actually obey what I tell you to do NOW! And you would actually let your pride get in the way of what is My will? All so that you can continue to appear to be right? Think about it, my child, what is really in your heart?’
Other temptations happen in leadership decisions where I have made the wrong moves thus impacting those I serve in a negative way. Again, God is very gentle in how he has guided me to apologize to these same people even though in my pride I may not have liked not being right. Had I been about being right, or not being wrong in those scenarios, I would have missed out on repairing relationships and loving others. I would have missed out on the freedom of those moments of being about getting it right with God and not about controlling my image. Had I be about being right, I would have missed those redemptive moments where my image is laid bare and I am without an excuse for being wrong. But the wonder of it all, in these same long moments I usually find the grace of God via the people that knows about my shortcomings. This kind of vulnerability has allowed me to receive love from God in a very tangible intimate way. It also has taught me how to love as God does, with no claims to rights or being right.
So, who said you cannot learn about life via sports? Not I.
Thanks to Dumars, I am reminded about what is essential in life and leadership! Go Pistons!