Professional sports is one of the most common professions that people think of when identifying specific great leaders and what they think makes a great leader. One reason for this is because there are so many different sports and sports organizations within each of those sports, as well as, the huge amount of people that are involved in each sports organization. Another reason for this is that there are so many different levels within a sports organization where leaders can be found such as, among the actual players for a organization, among the coaching staff for a specific organization or even the front office of a sports organization.
Among all the different people and leaders in sports one of the best leaders in my opinion would have to be Steve Kerr, the head coach of the NBA organization the Golden State Warriors, for the specific reason that he has been successful within all three levels of a sports organization. When using the skills approach and more specifically the Three-Skill Approach to identify what exactly makes Steve Kerr such a great leader becomes very evident and one can understand why he has been such a successful leader at all three of the different levels of a sports organization.
The Three-Skill Approach can help explain why Steve Kerr has been such a great and successful leader throughout his career because of the way the model is set up and how it is broken up into three different levels. As a result, we can use Steve Kerr’s professional career of working at all three levels in sports organizations, which can be directly compared to this Model. When looking at the Three-Skill Approach the three levels it is broken down into are Supervisory Management, Middle Management and Top Management. Within each of these levels the skills needed for each level are broken up into the same three skills, technical skills, human skills, and conceptual skills. The difference between each is the amount of these different skills is needed. Technical skills are most important for someone to have at the Supervisory and Middle Management levels, conceptual skills are most important for the Top and Middle Management levels, and human Skills are important at all three levels of management according to the Three-Skill Approach (Northouse, 2016, p. 44-46).
When comparing his career to this approach we can compare the Supervisory Management level to the part of his career as a player in the NBA while playing for three different teams. After his playing career he moved straight to the Top Management level and this can be directly compared to the portion of his career where he worked in the Phoenix Suns front office as a consultant then the Organization’s General Manager. From there he moved back down a level to the Middle Management level which, can be compared to Steve Kerr’s career as the head coach for the Golden State Warriors.
As a player at the Supervisory Management level, Steve Kerr played in the NBA for 15 years and over that span he played for the Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs, and Portland Trailblazers. Also, during his 15-year career he was apart of 5 teams that won NBA Championship. When he retired he retired with the highest three point shooting percentage in a career as well as the highest three point shooting percentage in a season for a player. All of these things show that he had and still has the technical skills required for basketball. When he was brought into the Phoenix Suns front office he worked as a consultant at initially and learned the different aspects of the higher front office jobs. After working as a consultant for a couple years he was hired by the Suns again to work as their general manger showing that he had acquired the conceptual skills and developed more of his human skills that he learned and picked up from being a player. After working as the GM for the Phoenix Suns he was hired as the Golden State Warriors Head Coach and has become one of the most successful NBA coaches in recent history. This title can be contributed to the fact that he worked both the supervisory management level and top management level before working in the middle management level, which places equal importance on all three skills unlike the other two levels that emphasize importance on just two of the three skills (USA today, 2017).
Northouse, P.G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.
The assassination of Steve Kerr’s father and the unlikely story of a champion. (2017, April 23). Retrieved June 01, 2017, from http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/06/the-assassination-of-steve-kerrs-father-and-the-unlikely-story-of-a-champion