Sports team leaders!

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SPORTS TEAMS ARE MANAGING THE MULTIGENERATIONAL MIX

The main story about last week’s Super Bowl was how boring it was, but there was another plot line to follow. The Super Bowl was, along with many professional sporting events today, a multigenerational workplace drama. I can’t help but notice how elite athletes are experiencing today’s unprecedented multigenerational workplace in some of the same ways as the rest of us:


Leading leaders

Most young people have never been part of a multigenerational team until their first job: As Adam Kilgore noted in The Washington Post, “For their whole lives, football players are never more than four years apart from their teammates. Patriots rookies this season suddenly had a quarterback 19 years older than they are.”

This is true for many professional athletes as well as all the rest of us. While few will ever be teammates with Tom Brady, many Millennials and Gen Zs have never had the experience of collaborating on a team with people decades older than they are.

The best leaders of multigenerational teams are remixers who combine the “classic” and the “new”: Although he didn’t pull off a Super Bowl victory, The LA Rams’ 33-year-old head coach Sean McVay is the youngest head coach in modern NFL history. Alden Gonzalez writes for ESPN.com that McVay is viewed by his colleagues as both a Millennial and an “old soul.” Gonzalez points out two features of McVay’s leadership that I often recommend to leaders of intergenerational teams: 1) the first thing he did when he arrived was listen, and 2) he has made teaching fundamentals more of a priority.

The best intergenerational leaders are great communicators!

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