If you’ve been reading my blog posts with any regularity, you may have caught on that I’ve recently become a big fan of podcasts. This week I heard an interview with the legendary professional basketball player Grant Hill on Oprah’s podcast, “Masterclass.” In the episode, he described in detail his childhood and in particular his development as an athlete. He told one story of a kiddie basketball game he played when he was 9 years old. Always being the biggest and most athletic, he not only led his team to a win but was ecstatic to also score every point of the game — 32 points to be exact.
After the game he boasted to his father, a professional athlete. “I did it all myself,” he told his dad. He thought to himself, “Man, I’m good.”
His father taught him a valuable lesson that day: The best players make their teammates better. A leader creates an environment in which the teammates enjoy playing with them. His father also told him that being a leader means being selfless and not making it “all about you.” Of course, Grant realized his folly, and this changed how he approached the team setting thereafter.
As in sports, I believe that working in a law firm means being on a team. Working together requires give and take and a dialogue between teammates. My name is on the door, but I am not any more important than any other member of the team. If that’s how I approached my relationship with my colleagues, no one would want to play with me.
Even if I am a great player, I need the cooperation of the other four people on the court with me. I believe this attitude helps create an environment where we all look forward to going to work every day, working together toward a common goal. We can’t always win, but these ladies are in the trenches with me. As Grant Hill said, “Win lose or draw, we are vested in this” together.
Jessica Markham is the owner of Markham Law Firm, a family law firm in Bethesda.