Three years ago, the Warriors did something special that helped them win the NBA Championship. This is a lesson for every company

As the final buzzer sounded, young Golden State Warriors guard Jordan Poole found his partner and mentor, Klay Thompson. They hugged for several seconds, both smiling from ear to ear. His team recently defeated the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals to make them NBA champions.

“That big brother is right there,” Pole told Thompson in a postgame interview. “He never let me down, never let me down. If ever there was something I needed to get better at he told me. He was calling me to work with him. To take shots with him.” For. He’s one of the greatest shooters of all time. And being able to have someone who hugs you like that. Just put [me] in case of success.”

At first glance, it may seem like a simple matter of mentorship, with one experienced team member taking another under his wing. But there is more to this story, a story that actually began a few years back. This presents some wonderful lessons for any entrepreneur or organization that is interested in breaking down silos and building high-potential teams.

Here’s the backstory and the lesson for your business.

It’s all about emotional intelligence

Part of what makes this account so interesting is that in the eyes of many, Poole was actually brought into the team as a potential replacement for Thompson.

The Warriors drafted Poole just a week after Thompson tore his ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals. Thompson suffered another major toe injury that resulted in him missing two years of playing time. Meanwhile, Poole stepped into the role of Thompson, and quickly excelled.

How would Thompson react? Will jealousy and fear lead to disillusionment? Will this lead to an awkward relationship with her new partner?

In contrast, Thompson assumed his role as the pool’s custodian.

Poole said Thompson took him under his wing, as the veteran invited the youngster to join him for a workout. Thompson regularly sent out encouraging texts to Poole and called on him to lift his spirits after a bad game, sharing his stories of shooting and how he recovered. Additionally, Thompson shared the tricks of the trade that helped Poole become the best player he could be, making the team stronger.

it shows remarkable emotional intelligence Thompson, who was able to keep any natural negative feelings under control and focused on being a positive force for her partner and organization.

But three years ago the Warriors had done something special, an act that empowered Thompson to do so.

When Thompson tore his ACL in the summer of 2019, the team knew he would miss it all next season. The team did not know whether Thompson would ever return to form. Will he ever play another match for the team? Will he be the shell of the player he used to be?

Did not make any difference. Instead of cutting off one of his star players, or paying him very little because of his injury, he rewarded Thompson—with a lucrative five-year contract worth $190 million. As Thompson returned from injury, the Warriors’ coaching staff made it clear that he would return to the starting lineup, despite the pool playing very well.

By rewarding Thompson and demonstrating loyalty to a player who was instrumental in winning the team’s multiple championships, the Warriors sent a powerful message, loud and clear:

You have sacrificed for us? We are going to reward you. Are you going through a tough time? We’ve got your back.

Your organization may not have as big a salary as the Warriors. But there is still a big lesson here for your company.

Research indicates that one of the biggest factors in building highly effective teams is creating a psychologically safe environment, an emotionally intelligent culture where team members feel safe, feel safe and take risks. Huh.

In other words, organizations and leaders who build trust and loyalty with their team members inspire those individuals to be the best versions of themselves. Those people then give back to the organization in the form of hard work – and in cases like these, pass on their experience to new people. This is the exact opposite of what we see in an organization with cultures lacking psychological security – where teammates are reticent, suspicious and reluctant to contribute to each other’s success.

So, if you’re a business owner or executive, and you’re interested in creating a culture that combines the powerful interests of loyal human relations, remember the story of the Golden State Warriors. Remember that sailing will not always be smooth, that your people will also go through tough times.

But if you can show support for your people when things are at their worst, they’ll be more than motivated to return the favor. They will be better exposed to the experience, and they will better those around them as well.

This is how you create a culture that achieves great things. But more than that, you create a culture you can be proud of.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.