I know a few of you cringe when I use a sports analogy, but having attended last night’s NCAA Final Four in Indianapolis you are about to read one.
Coach K (Coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke University) is a 63 year old boomer that teaches classic basketball fundamentals. His team came out for pre-game warm-ups all wearing the exact same attire, doing the consistent team drills and acting very disciplined. He has now won four national championships and is a legend. Coach Brad (Coach Brad Stevens of Butler University) is a 33 year old Gen X that is on his second career (he started in corporate America in advertising for Eli Lilly). He understands basketball and really grasps how to build teams. His team participated in pre-game warm-ups dressed in all varieties of Butler wear, preparing in their individual ways, many wearing iPods and enjoying the moment.
While I’m probably more “old school” when it comes to sports fundamentals, I was reminded last night how important it is to adjust my believes as a leader based on who I am leading. While Coach K won, Coach Brad gave Duke more of a game than anyone thought they would. Teaching is one thing, but building a cohesive team is often more than simply providing direction. Sometimes you have to bend and let the team do some of “their” thing.
Have you needed to make adjustments to your leadership style to effectively lead Gen Y’s? What did you do differently?