LeBron James has an unmistakable presence when he walks onto the basketball court.
He knows he’s the best. Perhaps more importantly, his opponents know he’s the best, even if they don’t want to admit it. It’s the look in his eye, the ability to keep his composure in tough situations and the tenacity to battle back from adversity that have cemented his place as a basketball icon.
Some would say James has been just as successful as an entrepreneur. He has earned $595 million in salary and endorsements since being drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003, according to Forbes. James stands to earn a lot more money in the years ahead through multiple business investments including SpringHill Entertainment, the multi-platform media company he founded with his business partner, Maverick Carter.
The goal he set shortly before his 21st birthday to one day become a billionaire appears to be well within his reach.
His leadership traits are as impressive as the unique physical gifts that he brings to the basketball court. They are also much more transferable to those of us who lead businesses for a living.
One of the most important of these traits is confidence. Think about each meeting before it takes place and have a clear plan in mind as to what you want to accomplish. Whether it’s a meeting with your management team or a business lunch with a potential client, you should walk into the room with a sense of purpose.
Deliver a firm handshake, make eye contact, speak with a clear and authoritative voice and dress in appropriate business attire. Convince people that you’re going to win, no matter what it takes.
Another valuable lesson is the idea of building your brand. As the leader, you’re most likely the face of your business. If you show yourself to be a hard worker, an attentive listener and an innovative thinker, you can also become an asset to other businesses and organizations in your community.
Many business leaders serve on a number of boards and are active in various charitable foundations. These roles give you the chance to make a difference in multiple ways. Take every opportunity to do just that. Build your brand and maximize the leadership gifts you’ve been given.
Finally, there are these words which James offered to Cavalier fans on July 11, 2014, when he announced he was coming back to Cleveland.
“Nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have,” James said in his essay published on SI.com.
It took hard work, dedication and sacrifice to build your business. And it will take even more blood, sweat and tears to put your company in position to compete in a constantly evolving economy. Be ready to face these challenges and help your employees accomplish more than they ever thought they could. Be the leader who inspires your team to greatness. ●
Fred Koury is president and CEO at Smart Business Network