This week, I found myself doing two things this Phoenix Suns fan never thought she would:
- Crying over a Los Angeles Laker
- Dreaming of being a Los Angeles Laker fan
That is because Dr. Jerry Buss, who bought the Lakers in 1979 and proceeded to win 10 NBA World Championships, introduced the idea of team dancers to NBA games (including Paula Abdul!), branded the “Showtime Lakers” and was among the biggest driving forces of the explosion of NBA across the globe, passed away at age 80.
While thinking of the true impact he has had on not only my life, but the lives of people like Magic Johnson and Kareen Abdul-Jabbar, I found myself also thinking of three other sports leaders we’ve lost in recent years – the Oakland Raiders’ sometime-infamous Al Davis, the New York Yankees’ George Steinbrenner and Baltimore Ravens’ founder Art Modell – which led me to thinking, “Where HAVE all the cowboys gone?”
Leadership books teach us about general “rules” for being a good leader in any industry, and all generally include some advice on:
But, as Frank Sinatra said best, while true innovative leaders in this world may possess one or more general leadership characteristics, they also tend to live more by the philosophy of “I Did It My Way” above all else. To me, all of these leaders above – who dared to buck trends, stand up to higher powers and ask forgiveness not permission – were true outliers to general rules and standards of leadership.
I guess you could say they have a “cowboy” leadership style.
But this begs the question – are there any cowboys left? Do we live in a world too scared of lawsuits and too bogged down by mounting reactive duties for any real cowboys to emerge?
Certainly, in the sports world, the Dallas’ Cowboys (aptly named) Jerry Jones and perhaps the Dallas Mavericks’ Mark Cuban could be considered business cowboys still leading today, but even recent cowboy leaders like Arizona’s own Dr. Bob Parsons seem to be slowly “getting out of the saddle” and moving toward more traditional leadership roles.
What do you think – can anyone find me any cowboys out there?