Careers

Kobe Bryant says developing this key trait turned him into a leader

Kobe Bryant
Axelle | Bauer-Griffin | FilmMagic | Getty Images
Kobe Bryant

Five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant recently paid a visit to University of Alabama's locker room, where he delivered an inspiring pep talk about leadership.

Bryant, who played 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, told the college football players the leadership advice that helped him to succeed in his career: "To be an effective leader, you have to be a really good listener," he said. "And not to what's being said, but to what's not being said."

Bryant explained that understanding this concept led to a big transition for him. He said he "went from being a scorer and a floor general with Pau [Gasol] and Lamar [Odom] while trying to win a championship to being a leader." He emphasized how that "meant putting others first" and not worrying about if you're succeeding, but rather worrying about if your team is succeeding.

"That's the big transition to make," he told the players. "You've got to observe them, because they all have things they want to accomplish as individuals, and as a leader you are like 'OK, what are those things?'"

Bryant's advice to the 2018 college football champs echoes that of billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson, who once said that the best advice he ever received was to "listen more than you talk."

"Nobody learned anything by hearing themselves speak," he wrote in a LinkedIn blog post. Branson, who is the CEO and founder of the Virgin Group, explained how he's learned in his personal and professional life that "if you aren't listening, you are missing out."

After Bryant's talk, several of the college players took to Twitter to thank him for stopping by.

The top-ranked football team will start their season on September 1 under the leadership of head coach Nick Saban.

Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!

Don't miss: Kobe Bryant and ex-NFL player agree on what pro athletes should do after retiring