Posted by: Matthew Molinari | March 29, 2012

A Team Without a Leader

I have to start this post with a disclaimer: I am a Celtics fan so I am biased against the Lakers and truly root for them to lose every game they play. However, I tend to follow many different teams and my distaste for the team doesn’t take away from my ability to pay attention to them as they are currently an interesting team to read about.

The team as a whole has countless side stories that make the season intriguing to watch: can Kobe’s aging knees hold up? Can Bynum really make it a season without a serious injury? How will they replace Derek Fisher’s leadership? At what point will Ron Artest go crazy and start jacking up 3’s?

However, I think there is something brewing on the bench that has been coming to light in the past few games. Last week, coach Mike Brown benched Kobe Bryant in the second half and this week he followed it up by benching Andrew Bynum.

I’m not arguing with how Brown is coaching the team on the court. If he feels it’s right for the team to bench a player that is certainly his right as head coach. However, I think there is a problem with how he is handling it. In the time since that game, Brown has not talked to Bynum about the benching and doesn’t plan on doing so.

Bynum is a 25-year-old All-Star who appeared to be checking out after the benching by not getting off the bench during time outs and generally appearing disinterested during the game. So let’s think about this in terms of a manager and employee relationship. Imagine if you sent home an employee for a mistake (Bynum had taken an ill-advised 3 in the 3rd quarter that led to the benching) and the next day acted as if nothing had happened.

What message are you sending that employee and your department as a whole? If you don’t sit down and talk to the employee about what they did and why it can not be a repeated mistake, they are bound to repeat it. Want proof? Here’s a quote from Bynum after the game: “I’m going to take another one and I’m going to take some more, so I just hope it’s not the same result”.

Read that again, he’s going to do it again and hope for a different result. Isn’t that the definition of insanity? No true leader would allow that type of mentality to survive in their workplace because it is going to fester into a real problem and most likely spread to other employees.

As a Celtics fan, I hope Brown continues to lead his players this way because it will certainly be a self-destructive end to their chances this year but as a manager, I find it to be a valuable lesson in how not to lead a team. Ignoring an issue is easy, addressing it is hard and takes an assertive leader who wants to see his team succeed and realizes sometimes it takes stepping outside your comfort zone.

Leave me your thoughts, even if you’re a Lakers fan.





  1. […] week I wrote a post about leadership framed around Andrew Bynum of the LA Lakers. In it, I predicted that without clear […]

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