I heard Cynt Marshall, the president of the NBA Dallas Mavericks, describe her leadership style in three words: Listen, Learn and Love.

Leaders often feel compelled to talk. They have the floor; they expect to fill up the air with words.

Marshall’s formula reminds the leader to hold back. An effective leader understands that there is untapped knowledge, insight, ideas, and solutions amongst the team. A leader who “listens” allows that information to come forth. It’s a winning solution.

When communication opens through listening, learning takes forth. I had a teacher once say the most effective leaders have a “cup up” strategy.

Here’s the picture: most leaders have their cups turned down. They pour out decisions, ideas, commands. Their cups are turned down so much, nothing gets poured in.

A “cup up” strategy puts the leader in a position to learn more, receive more.  Fresh stuff coming in means the stuff that flows out is of higher quality.  My teacher said to keep the “cup up.” Gaining more information is better than depleting it.

Love is natural. It’s not soft to endeavor to love your teammates.

Love is service.  It’s a choice.  It’s treating others with compassion and respect.  It’s honoring their contributions. It’s going the extra mile.  It’s rejoicing in their successes.  It never fails.