What does it mean to have the heart of a team leader? By now we’ve all seen the memes about the differences between a leader and a boss. Bosses tell you what to do while they refuse to hold themselves to the same standard, while leaders are down there in the trenches with you working to move the whole team forward. It takes a lot of hard work and positive mental energy to be an effective leader, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the NBA All-Stars game.

What Makes A Team Leader?

Being a leader is about more than just sharing the load, though that is a big part of it. It’s about being able to identify strengths and weaknesses and pull together a group of people whose strengths all compliment each other. Leaders stay calm under pressure, seeing failures as opportunities to learn rather than setbacks. When things go well, a team leader shares the credit, knowing he or she didn’t get there alone. Leaders set the bar high for everyone and encourage everyone to work hard to achieve those goals.

Leadership Is Important In The NBA

In professional basketball, team leaders play for the glory of the team, not for individual glory. Tobias Harris of the 76ers is the embodiment of this philosophy. He works hard and is constantly trying to improve his game in order to elevate his entire team. This hard work shows in the stats — with Harris the 76ers offense scores an average of 110.1 points per game, while without him that figure is 102.9, a loss of more than seven points. Opposing teams also score less when Harris is playing — an average of 106.0 points with Harris on the floor and an average of 108.7 points when Harris is not on the floor, nearly a three point difference.

Former NBA team owner Jerry Collangelo remarked of Harris that he has built himself as a great all-around player, building out his talent and making progress on his game.

Los Angeles Clippers Coach Doc Rivers has said of Harris that he had underestimated how good of a player he was, pointing out that even though the numbers have shown what a great player he is it’s still easy to overlook his talent because of his efficiency on the floor.

Harris’ Leadership Qualifies Him For The All-Star Team

While Harris is only 27, he has already played for five NBA teams over the course of nine seasons. He prides himself in the discipline he shows when it comes to improving his game, noting that he takes it as a compliment whenever someone is surprised when he improves his game yet again.

Former Detroit Pistons Coach Stan Van Gundy said of Harris’ improvement, “He’s a guy who is an extremely hard worker with a great deal of pride who’s always trying to get better. He’s not somebody who walks around and thinks he’s arrived or thinks he has done enough.”

While Harris certainly qualifies for the NBA All-Star team, it remains to be seen whether he will make it. Learn more about his qualifications below.