I'm a fan of curling. Well to be more exact, I am a fan of curling every four years, when I can watch it during the Winter Olympics. It's a game of skill, it's a game of strategy, it's a game that is dependent on the players playing to their strengths. There is a leadership analogy to be had. Read on.

In the past 30 years, employees have become used to the autonomy that “no job for life” has given them. Far from being shackled to the organization or exploited as their parents and grandparents were, Generation Y set the standard for reaching business objectives in a way that suited them best. This has become evident, in part, by their willingness to change jobs just for the new experience it offers and to take extended breaks between jobs when they want. And, just like an emerging democracy, they have no intention of giving this up.

Is traditional leadership dead?

Everyone knows the game. Not only do Gen Y workers know what leaders are going to do to try to get them to follow, they also know that they don’t have to. Leaders can’t make workers follow the, If they try, they’ll get more resistance than they dreamed possible. And if resistance isn’t an option, then these workers will leave at the earliest opportunity. Gen Y already has the mindset. All they need is a little push.

This has been a tough pill for leaders to swallow. Just like a mother hen, they’ve become so used to their chicks falling in line behind them that they’ve fail to notice when they left the nest.

What does this mean for the traditional leader?

How can leaders get people to follow? Actually, that’s the wrong question. It’s wrong because it presupposes that the desired results are dependent on the traditional leadership/followership model.

So, in order to get the answer you want, you have to begin by asking the right question.

The right question will always focus on the ends; not the means. In other words, you’ll be more interested in where people end up than if they followed you to get there.

Enter curling

There is a winter sport that illustrates this perfect: curling.

Curling is similar to the old British game of bowls, in which a ball was rolled across a level grass playing field. The difference is that Curling is played on ice.

Two teams compete against each other at any one time. Teams have four players, and each of them delivers two stones. Delivery is made in a manner that is similar to bowling, even bowling in an alley.

The difference is that the stone never leaves the ice. Instead the player uses the handle to push the stone in the desired direction, usually towards the center of the “target” at the other end of the ice sheet, as it’s called. Points are awarded on the basis of how close to the middle of the target a particular team’s stones are at the finish; and the one with the most points wins.

While all the glamor of playing the sport lies with the person who delivers the stone, the business of getting it to its intended goal depends on the sweepers. They are the two players who use their brooms to remove any loose ice from the path of the stone. If they fail to do this properly, then the stone will curl, hence the name of the sport.

In the new leadership, the leader is a sweeper. The employees are the ones who deliver the stones. And your job is to remove the obstacles they are likely to encounter and that will keep them from reaching the target. Just as in curling, you want those who work for you to find the most direct route possible to the goal. And so that means that in the truest sense of the word, you are a facilitator. You make things possible; you’re not the Pied Piper.

Studies have shown that people are motivated by their achievements and the opportunities to achieve more. If you concentrate on removing the obstacles that keep them from getting there, then they will want to do more. But if you insist that they follow your path to get there, then you shouldn’t be surprised if you’re left alone in the woods.