Something really funny happened this past week in the NBA. Kobe Bryant who was sitting out of a game against Portland, in street clothes, came out to the bench after the game had already started. All the seats were taken on the bench. So, what did Kobe do?
He made a rookie give up his seat and sit on the court. A rookie who was actually dressed to play in the game – take a look:
This is brilliant!
I want to work in an organization where when a legend walks into a meeting room, some kid gives up his seat when there isn’t one available!
I know. I know. We’re all supposed to be Servant Leaders. Kobe should have sat on the court himself and let the kid keep his seat on the bench. Screw that. Kobe is one of the greatest players to ever play the game. If he wants a seat, someone better get up and give him a seat.
For real, though, there’s something to be said about knowing your place in an organization and respecting those who came before you. Respect is earned. Kobe clearly has earned that in his final retirement year.
I can’t stand seeing formal power used in organizations. “Oh, that’s the President, he demands to have the first parking spot.” There is a little bit of this in the clip. But, if the kid truly didn’t want to give up his seat, he probably wouldn’t have. He even mentioned as much on Twitter, later, saying Kobe has earned his respect to give up his seat.
I hear too often from people, especially HR and leadership thought leaders, who take the opposite stance. I think we’ve gone a bit too far on this one. As I am told I need to value these young bucks coming into the organization for what they bring, they, also, need to value the years of value I’ve already brought and continue to bring.
Yeah, I said it. These damn kids need to know their place in the organization! Now get off my lawn!