If you even have a fleeting interest in sports, you’re probably familiar with the LeBron James story. In fact, a lot of people who hate sports have probably heard of it – whether they like it or not.
Widely regarded as the best player in the NBA, he left Cleveland in 2010 to join a super-team in Miami. Cleveland fans burned LeBron jerseys in the streets, and Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert posted an infamous letter online that gutted “The King” for his “cowardly betrayal” of the franchise and the city.
Oddly enough, none of that anger has stopped LeBron James from returning to Cleveland this offseason, nor has it stopped fans and the previously enraged owner from receiving him with open arms. It’s a fact of life that if you have a talent that sits at a truly elite level, you will always be welcome no matter how bad the situation is when you leave.
If you want more evidence, consider the famous case of Steve Jobs, who left Apple in disgrace in 1985 after being effectively kicked out by the board. Despite all his visionary genius, at this point in his life Jobs was a poor businessman due to a narrow-minded, combative, and stubborn attitude.
Oddly enough, none of that anger stopped Steve Jobs from returning to Apple a decade later, nor did it stop the same company from welcoming him with open arms. During these years he had matured as a person and improved his knowledge and abilities as a businessman and leader without losing any of his greatness as a visionary.
There is a pattern here, if it’s not too obvious at this point.
Jobs himself gives credit for his embarrassing fall from grace as motivation to critically examine himself and generate the will to improve on his weaknesses, as all great leaders should. During his second stint at Apple, he took it to unprecedented heights as a business, revolutionizing personal technology and the way business is done along the way.
There is no guarantee that LeBron James will be able to lead his team to a similar level of success, but the stories of him and Steve Jobs should teach important lessons for both employers and talented employees alike. 39; elite of the world.
First, the natural talent of the true elite can never be denied, but sometimes that talent needs time or even a change of scenery to fully mature and reach its potential. Most of all, it’s worth letting this talent reach that potential, even if it’s not with you.
Second, if you are an elite talent who doesn’t feel appreciated and is stagnating in your current situation, don’t be afraid to use your talent as leverage to rectify the situation. Your elite status means you’ll always have options and tons of offers to present, and if LeBron and Steve Jobs’ situations are any indication, you can always come back once the situation changes for everybody.
Bottom line: if you’re good enough at what you do, you’re always welcome.