Hanging Around the Hoop – How Leaders Increase Influence & Engagement with Those They Lead

During the NBA Draft a few weeks ago, I heard an analyst say that one thing that made one of the college prospects so valuable was his ability always to be “hanging around the hoop”. I took this to mean that this college player was the kind of player that was in the middle of the action. He made things happen. He was in the right place to either score for his team or initiate the scoring process for someone else on his team. The hoop is where results happen in basketball and hanging around the hoop is what high-performance players do.

Back when I played football, I had a defensive coach who would penalize his defensive players if they were not in the video frame when each play ended. We would watch game films and do and after-action-review (AAR) every Monday. I can still hear him counting to eleven after each play to ensure the entire defense was in the video shot. Why? Because the video camera always focused on where the ball was, and he knew that everything happens around the ball. I would be praying that if he stopped counting at nine or ten that the next words would not be, “Where’s Holley??”

Increasing Influence & Team Engagement

The opposite of “hanging around the hoop” is to lay back and wait for things to happen or wait for things to come to you. Picture the guy standing out by the three-point line in basketball waiting for the guy who is “hanging around the hoop” to feed the ball to him. While this may occur from time to time, it only happens when the person “hanging around the hoop” makes it happen.

If you are a leader desiring to increase your level of influence and increase the engagement level of your team, then one way to do that is to be “hanging around the hoop”. What does that look like for leaders?

Leaders Who “Hang Around the Hoop” are Leaders Who:

#1 – Hang around with the RIGHT PEOPLE. Who are the right people? Growth minded people, like-minded people, positive people. People with a positive and can-do attitude. People who think like business owners, not like hired hands. These are people who challenge you and call you to a higher level.

#2 – Hang around with the RIGHT RESOURCES. What are you reading? Listening to? Watching? Do you invest some amount of time each day into your personal development? Leaders that make things happen are leaders who spend time developing their thinking, their mindset, and their attitude. They pour into themselves so they can pour into others.

#3 – Hang around with the RIGHT PRIORITIES. Leaders that make things happen do not spend time working on or thinking about unimportant things. They are clear on their priorities. They set clear expectations and they ensure they themselves and the people who work with them are focused on the BIG Rocks.

#4 – Hang around with the ABILITY TO FOCUS. Leaders that make things happen are focused and do not allow themselves to be distracted. Like an NBA player who is hanging around the hoop, strong leaders are not affected by the noise of the crowd or the actions of other players. For leaders, this means managing time, managing energy, and knowing what outcome you are trying to deliver

#5 – Hang around with the RIGHT MINDSET about mistakes and setbacks. Leaders who make things happen don’t always get it right the first time, but they don’t let that keep them from getting back in there and trying again. Persistence, especially in the presence of failure is key for any leader who is going to make things happen.

I am sure there are more characteristics of leaders who are “hanging around the hoop”, what do you think? Leave me a comment and share your thoughts about leaders that make things happen.