March Madness: A Team-Coached Team and Leaders Who Follow



Fifty-nine games have been played in March Madness. Three games are left. One team out of sixty-five will emerge. Don’t you love it? Well, maybe not so much if your team and your bracket have fallen apart.

Of course, I love it for the piercing glances into leadership. Coach Izzo of Michigan State is as dependable for his leadership insights as for his extraordinary intensity on the sidelines and the success of his teams. I loved this reflection I heard from him last Sunday after their win over USC. He was talking about how his players were suggesting to him a strategic edge in the middle of the game. He exulted: “A player-coached team is better than a coach-coached team.” And he continued, “When you have a player-coached team, you listen to them.”

I thought: We should all strive to build player-coached teams.

I wonder of you managers and supervisors and principals and parents: Do you have a coach-coached team or a player-coached team?

What do you think is the most important attitude and the most important practice of those leaders who create player-coached teams? Here are my contenders. Attitude: humble awareness that no matter how smart, invested, hard-working, well-intentioned or obsessive I may be, I can’t possibly know as much as the team does. Then elevate “humble awareness” to “thirst for their knowledge, participation, and commitment.” The most important practice: follow. How’s that for paradoxical leadership?

So, how much do you seek their views, insights, and ownership? And when was the last time you really followed?

Open to your observations (I honestly thirst for them) and your input (I’ll follow)….as we all

Lead with our best selves,


Audio File:  March Madness: A Team-Coached Team and Leaders Who Follow