Hey, Kid! Know Your Place.

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!

6 thoughts on “Hey, Kid! Know Your Place.

  1. Millennials respect your position, your years of service, and the value you still bring to the organization. That said, if all you do is chest-puff your relevance, we will gladly leave you and your lawn.

  2. I honestly think you are way off base. In general terms, respect is something that is a two way street. The days of paying reverence to your elders or seniors just because they are older or have a higher pay grade have been gone for a long while. The CEOs parking spot is the most ridiculous and offensive practice. He already makes up to 27 times the salary of the average first line employee. He can’t walk a few feet from the parking lot? If he wants that spot, her there early. In the case of said chair; that chair was there for a purpose, i.e. So the player -rookie or not- can jump on the court at a seconds notice from the coach. What the heck was Kobe on the side court for? Was he adding something to the game? Either way, he could have easily asked the coach for a chair in advance. It seems capricious and entitled for him to throw his weight around, step over team mates just to get what he wants. He is the one disrespecting his junior team-mate.

  3. This is very common in the military as well. Someone who has medals & stripes, you better get up and knowledge. Younger people do need to respect those that have been around a while. It doesn’t happen as much today

  4. Love it. I think this attitude (either side of it) is very telling. It’s more than just giving your elders (superiors) respect. By refusing to give up your seat what you’re really saying is “I don’t respect your knowledge and what you have to offer. There’s nothing I can learn from you.” And that’s just dumb. It’s great to be ambitious and want to shake things up, but don’t ignore the wisdom of the ages (or aged) while you’re doing it.

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