Wednesday I read a great article on leadership in USA Today. Any coach or person in a leadership position will benefit from the below piece on the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Cavaliers coach Brown gladly makes decisions by committee
By Chris Colston, USA TODAY
With the third-best record in the NBA at 27-6, the Cleveland Cavaliers have hit few rocky spots this season. Coach Mike Brown is prepared to keep it that way.
Using a tip from St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, Brown has formed a group of veteran players with whom he confers — through good times and bad. He refers to his foursome of LeBron James, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Ben Wallace and Mo Williams as "The Committee." They offer Brown feedback and police the team. "It helps me out," Brown says. "I don't have all the answers. They have a better feel for certain situations than the head coach. When you have a group of guys you trust and have been through a lot of different experiences, it's good to get their opinion."
Brown will go to the players, often individually, and bounce ideas off them, because "I might be a little off base on my thinking or what I'm about to say."
During the preseason, rookie forward J.J. Hickson overslept and was late for a shoot-around in Columbus, Ohio. Brown conferred with his committee on the best form of punishment. They decided Hickson should sit out the first half of the next preseason game. But, Brown says, "I just don't hit them when there's trouble. Different situations might arise where we just need to talk."
The idea initially came to Brown when he was associate head coach of the Indiana Pacers under Rick Carlisle from 2002 to 2004. According to Brown, Carlisle had use of a Pacers private jet and took his staff to a Cardinals baseball game. He arranged to have dinner with La Russa after the game. "We got to see how they operate behind the scenes and pick Tony's brain a little bit," Brown says. "He said he met with a group of veteran guys every once in a while to make sure everybody's on the same page. I thought that was a good idea." Choosing who is committee-worthy can be delicate. Wallace, for instance, likes to downplay it. "I don't know anything about that," he said when asked about the committee. But Brown says, "It's not like these guys are bigger and better than anybody else. They're just veteran guys who have been through a lot of different experiences." He adds that other players on his team are capable of blossoming in the role.
James has embraced the responsibility. "You gotta be able to have guys who not only go out there and play, but also control what goes on off the court in the locker room, on the bus," James told reporters. "We take care of on the court, but also off the court."