Lessons in Team Building from Masai Ujiri

"It's about finding that balance between being fierce and treating people well," says the President and GM of the Toronto Raptors

Written by PROFIT Staff

With the NBA All-Star Game being held in Canada for the first time this year, Toronto Raptors’ president and general manager Masai Ujiri talked to Courtney Shea about leadership on the court and off, the “Drake Effect” and when to drop the F-bomb.

Here are five things you can learn about leadership and team-building from their conversation, which you can read in full here.

On his personal leadership style

“I know it’s a business, but being personal is very important for me. I don’t micromanage—I just give my people the best possible platform and let them do what they do. [I try to] treat people like they want to be treated. It’s very easy to say and sounds like something everyone would [want to] do.”

On why some leaders are jerks

“When things go wrong or you have to make tough decisions, there is a tendency to become an asshole. Every day I think, What mistakes did I make in how I treated people? You can’t be perfect every day, but in a leadership role it’s about finding that balance between being aggressive, fierce and competitive, and treating people well. It’s a huge challenge.”

On retaining top talent

“I think you want the people on your team to feel great ownership of what they are doing and their success. Management plays an important role, and there are little things we do here and there, but with guys like Kyle [Lowry] or DeMar [DeRozan] or Jonas [Valanciunas] or so many of the players, I give the credit to them.”

On building team chemistry

“It comes with time. You have to build continuity and let people get used to one another. It’s not just on the court; maybe someone doesn’t like getting emails at 2 a.m. I think when everyone gets the personal attention and you [add] consistency and support, everyone can be their best.”

On managing stress

“Family helps. I look forward to going home every day to the people I love. That takes everything else away. I also like to wake up early to think the day through and spend time reading. I’m generally not a person who stresses. We’re blessed to be where we are. I pinch myself every day.”

For the rest of Shea’s conversation with Ujiri, including his thoughts on Brand Drake and psychological warfare, click here.


What’s your top team building tip? Let us know by commenting below.

Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com