Two nights ago the Miami Heat won the NBA championship. Being an avid sports fan (though not necessarily basketball), I was fairly in tune with what was going on and watched game six where the Heat clinched it. Once again they won behind an inspired performance from their young star Dwayne Wade. This is Wade’s third season and he’s turned into a serious superstar, even getting the dreaded Jordan comparison.
I’m not going to talk about Wade’s basketball prowess, however, instead I want to talk about the way he’s handled this situation. For those that don’t know, even though Wade is the best player on the heat, the real star of the team is Shaq (a fact which some might argue). Shaq’s a veteran and a big presence both physically and in terms of celebrity status. After leaving the Lakers two years ago he vowed to bring a title to the Heat. In the end, though, it wasn’t he who did it.
Wade didn’t care, though. It seems like his attitude is to go out and play hard and let Shaq be Shaq. Wade seems comfortable enough with himself to let Shaq play the star and I have a lot of respect for that. Part of being a leader is understanding how to manage a team. Wade understands Shaq’s need to be seen and lets him do that, in turn Shaq goes around telling the world that Wade is the best he’s ever seen, it’s a win-win situation.
I guess I wanted to talk about this because it’s something I’ve been facing a lot in my own life. It’s important to understand the dynamics of a group and know how to play to other’s points of pride. If it’s public recognition they want, give it to them. Not that you shouldn’t take credit for your work, but if the final product is better because you let someone else have a little more glory than they may deserve, you’ll still be recognized for doing great work. Maybe I’m just lucky to work in an environment where I don’t have to worry about recognition, but I think this is something most people have trouble grasping. Instead so many spend every day worrying about who’s getting the most attention. (It’s one of those things that rears its ugly head in CC ettiquette.)
Look at Wade, everyone in the world knows the Heat wouldn’t have won without him, including Shaq. Maybe he’d have won even if he’d played the prima donna, but I bet he wouldn’t have been as happy.