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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Flakes, PE

How Stephen Curry's Leadership Traits Can Help You Win at Work


President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris speak with Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry in the Blue Room of the White House, Tuesday, January 17, 2023, before an event celebrating the team’s 2022 NBA championship.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris speak with Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry in the Blue Room of the White House, Tuesday, January 17, 2023, before an event celebrating the team’s 2022 NBA championship. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz).

Stephen Curry is one of the most successful basketball players in the world. He is a two-time MVP, four-time NBA champion, and nine-time All-Star. But what makes Curry truly special is his leadership.


Curry's leadership has helped the Golden State Warriors become one of the most successful teams in the history of the NBA. Curry's leadership is a direct result of seven key traits that enable him to be the great leader he is for his team. This essay will explore Curry's key characteristics, provide tips on developing these traits in yourself, and recommend additional reading for further development.


Authenticity


Stephen Curry is a leader who is true to himself and who leads by example. He is also a leader who is mindful of his words and speaks with authority. He also knows the importance of being selective with his words. In an interview with ESPN's Doris Burke for the fourth annual Jr. NBA Leadership Conference, Curry spoke about authentic leadership.


You don't have to be anybody but yourself. There are a lot of different ways that leadership presents itself. I feel like I have a blend of a couple factors where I try to lead by example, like putting in the most time, having the hardest work ethic, and showing people what it means to be committed to winning and to doing everything you can to get better every single year and not settling. I can show it better than I can say it, and so I know there's a consistency to that. But I'm also pretty selective when I do speak. I'm not the loudest guy in the room, so when I do say something, hopefully it commands attention and has a presence about it.

Authenticity is a crucial characteristic of any professional. When you are authentic, you are genuine to yourself. This means being honest, transparent, and consistent in your words and actions. Authenticity builds trust and rapport with others, which can lead to success in your career.


Here are some Professional Plus tips for developing authenticity:

  • Be true to yourself. Do not try to be someone you are not.

  • Be confident in who you are. Do not be afraid to stand out from the crowd.

  • Be honest with yourself and others.

  • Be willing to admit when you are wrong.

  • Be open to feedback and criticism.


Further Reading:


Humility


Humility is another essential aspect of Curry's leadership. Despite his tremendous success, he remains grounded and humble, always crediting his teammates and coaches. Curry's coach, Steve Kerr, commented about Curry's humility in an article for ESPN in 2018.


"I think it's how hard he works combined with his humility off the floor," says Steve Kerr. "He's just a decent human being; such a nice player. He's obviously a superstar player, but he acts like he's the 12th man. I can get on him in film sessions, and he never seems to mind. He leads by example. He's a great guy, a great teammate, and the players respect him. That's what a captain is about."


Curry has even remarked on his humble beginnings and is grateful for the journey that has led him to where he is today once said:


I remember where I started and just the whole journey. You remind yourself of that every day. The fact that from high school to your first All-Star Game, it’s a journey, and everything that had to go right in your life and on the court for that to happen. Never let myself get too big-headed on that front. That’s how I live my life. So everything about it in terms of the appreciation and gratitude for everything that happens, all the experiences that you have, everything that you go through, you keep building on that, and usually good things happen because you appreciate everything no matter what happens.

Humility is essential for professionals because it allows them to be open to feedback, learn from their mistakes, and build relationships with others. Humble professionals are more likely to be successful in their careers as they can admit when they are wrong, take criticism constructively, and give credit where credit is due.


Here are some Professional Plus tips for developing humility:

  • Be aware of your limitations. Do not think you know everything.

  • Be willing to learn from others.

  • Be open to feedback and criticism.

  • Be ready to admit when you are wrong.

  • Be gracious in victory and defeat.


Further Reading:


Selflessness


Stephen Curry is one of the most selfless players in the NBA. He is always willing to put his team first, even if it means sacrificing his stats.


In 2022, Curry was injured for the last few weeks of the regular season. His teammate, Jordan Poole, replaced him in the starting lineup, and he played exceptionally well. The Warriors won their last five regular season games with Poole in the starting lineup.


When Curry returned for the playoffs, he came off the bench for the first four games. He could have easily insisted on starting, but he knew the Warriors were playing well with Poole in the starting lineup. Curry's selflessness showed that he is a true team player and willing to do whatever it takes to help the Warriors win.


Even former NBA player Matt Barnes recently commented on Steph Curry's selflessness in a radio interview with Steiny & Guru from 95.7 The Game in 2022.


"If you don't like Steph Curry, then you're just a hater," said Barnes. "What can you really not like about him? He's himself. He plays the game the right way. He's selfless. Rarely, in this day and age, do you see selfless superstars. He's a selfless superstar."


Selflessness is vital for professionals because it allows them to put the needs of others before their own, which can lead to a more positive and productive work environment. Selfless professionals are more likely to be helpful, cooperative, and supportive of their colleagues. They are also more likely to be willing to go the extra mile for their team, which can lead to better results.


Here are some Professional Plus tips for developing selflessness:

  • Be willing to put the team first.

  • Be ready to sacrifice your glory for the team's good.

  • Be willing to help your teammates improve.

  • Be a good listener.

  • Be supportive of your teammates.


Further Reading:

  • "The Art of Happiness" by Dalai Lama XIV and Howard Cutler (July 21, 2020. This book is a dialogue between the Dalai Lama and a Western psychologist. They discuss the nature of happiness and how to achieve it. The Dalai Lama emphasizes the importance of compassion and altruism as keys to happiness.

  • "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen R. Covey (May 19, 2020). This book is about seven habits that can help us become more effective in all areas of our lives. One of the habits is "seek first to understand, then to be understood." This habit is about putting the needs of others first and trying to see things from their perspective.

  • "The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment" by Eckhart Tolle (August 19, 2004). This book is about living in the present moment and letting go of our attachments to the past and future. Tolle argues that we are more likely to be selfless and compassionate when we live in the present moment.

  • "7 Ways To Be Selfless In A Selfish World" by Power of Positivity (March 11, 2016)


Adaptability


Stephen Curry is a highly adaptable player, an asset for the Warriors. When Kevin Durant joined the Warriors in 2016, Curry was willing to change his role and become a secondary scoring option. This allowed Durant to take over as the primary scorer and helped the Warriors win two more championships.


Andre Iguodala, a long-time teammate of Steph Curry, discussed with Shannon Sharpe on the Club Shay Shay podcast how Curry had to adapt his game the most once Kevin Durant arrived at Golden State.



After Durant left the team in 2019, Curry had to adapt his game again. He became more aggressive and increased his shot attempts, leading the Warriors to another championship in 2022.

In today's rapidly changing world, it is more important than ever for professionals to be adaptable. The job market is constantly evolving, and new technologies are always emerging. Professionals adapting to change will be more likely to succeed in their careers.


Here are some Professional Plus tips for developing adaptability:

  • Be open to change. Do not be afraid to try new things.

  • Be willing to learn and grow.

  • Be flexible in your thinking.

  • Be able to think outside the box.

  • Be able to adapt to different situations.


Further Reading:


Charisma


Stephen Curry is known for his confident and engaging personality and ability to connect with people on and off the court. His energy, passion, and positive attitude are infectious, inspiring, and motivating those around him. These qualities, along with his exceptional basketball skills, have made him a popular figure both within the sport and beyond and have helped to establish him as a charismatic leader.


Curry's charisma was evident even as a rookie in the NBA. His former teammate, Ronny Turiaf, recalled how Curry had the "it factor" from the start. "You can't really pinpoint everything," Turiaf said, "but you know that people want to follow him. He has charisma."


Charisma is a crucial quality for professionals because it allows them to connect with others and build relationships. Charismatic professionals can inspire and motivate others and are often seen as leaders. They are also more likely to be successful in their careers as they can build trust and rapport with their colleagues, clients, and customers.


Here are some Professional Plus tips for developing charisma:

  • Be positive and enthusiastic.

  • Be confident in yourself and your abilities.

  • Be a good listener.

  • Be able to connect with people on a personal level.

  • Be able to inspire others.


Further Reading:


Work Ethic


Stephen Curry is known for his dedication to basketball and willingness to put in extra work to be the best he can be. In a story for ESPN by Jackie McMullen, Curry spoke about the importance of preparation and hard work.

I don't think everybody enjoys practicing and lifting and running and doing all that stuff. If you love the game, if you want to appreciate those moments when the lights are on and every shot counts, then you better be prepared for those moments.
As you evolve, it's almost like a game within a game. When you get to college, then the pros, everything resets and it's an equal playing field. You've got to figure out how to differentiate yourself. You've got to figure out how to get to a certain level and how to stay there. The time you put in is what will determine that.

Curry is considered by many to be the greatest shooter in the history of the NBA. It is a product of his hard work, dedication, and natural talent. His former teammate, Kevin Durant, has spoken about Curry's work ethic, saying, "Curry's(Steph's jump shot) doesn't come by just his dad being Dell Curry, and he passed those powers down. He worked on that ... and then to see the production out on the floor, and how he ties everything together, it's pure artistry."


Work ethic is crucial for professionals because it is the foundation of success. It is the willingness to put in the hard work and dedication necessary to achieve your goals. Professionals with a strong work ethic are more likely to be successful in their careers, as they can consistently produce high-quality work and meet deadlines.


Here are some Professional Plus tips for developing a solid work ethic:

  • Set goals for yourself and work towards them.

  • Be disciplined and consistent with your training.

  • Be willing to put in extra effort.

  • Be patient and persistent.

  • Never give up on your dreams.


Further Reading:


Resilience


Stephen Curry's career was almost derailed by a series of ankle injuries early in his career. He missed significant time during his second and third NBA seasons, and many questioned whether he could overcome these injuries.


"A lot of people thought he was out and done," said Tim Hardaway of Curry. "That he was going to be hurt, that his career was going to be over with because of the ankle injuries."


However, Curry refused to give up. He worked tirelessly with doctors and trainers to rehabilitate his ankles, and he also changed his playing style to reduce the risk of further injury. As a result of his hard work and dedication, Curry returned to the court and eventually became one of the best players in the NBA.


Resilience is essential for professionals because it allows them to cope with stress, setbacks, and change. Resilient professionals are more likely to succeed in their careers as they can persevere in facing challenges.


Here are some Professional Plus tips for developing resilience:

  • Do not give up easily.

  • Learn from your mistakes.

  • Be able to bounce back from setbacks.

  • Be optimistic.

  • Be surrounded by positive people.


Further Reading:


Conclusion


Stephen Curry has achieved tremendous success on the basketball court and is an excellent leader. His leadership style inspires and motivates his teammates, earning him respect and admiration. He is a leader who leads by example, puts the team first, and always strives to improve. His dedication and ability to adapt to changing circumstances are just a few reasons why he is an excellent leader.


Curry's leadership style can be applied to any field, and it can help professionals achieve success in their careers. If you want to be a better leader, take a page from Stephen Curry's playbook and adopt his leadership style. You'll be glad you did.


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Attribution: The cover image photo is taken from The White House Flickr


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