Channeling the delinquent

Nick Kyrios - shout.jpg

Naughty kids don’t belong in the naughty corner

When I say Nick Kyrios, you probably want to stop reading. I know I have been judgemental of his behaviour at times myself. I have written previously on why he gets too much ‘column space’ in the newspapers for his poor behaviour. Sometimes, he has simply acted like a jerk!

However, I understand that the people who consistently come out on top tend to have a little ‘naughty’ in them. This Audacity serves to push boundaries for heightened creativity, can create a form of authority, and is a sign of independence and strength. Naughty kids have the natural tendency to become the best leaders amongst us. (Devi Clark, Lifehack)

I mention Kyrios, as he is the highest profile bad boy in today’s world of professional tennis. Petulant, seemingly self-centred, and generally acts like a juvenile. In Australia, some would label his antics as ‘un-Australian’. But he is also super talented. And many have commented that ‘if only he would clean up his act, he could become one of the best.

I take a different stance. I think his ‘naughtiness’ is a critical element to why he could be the best. Being naughty brings with it a huge upside as stated above. And this week, I noticed something a little different in Nick… 

Nick thanks a spectator for telling him where to serve on Match Point

Nick thanks a spectator for telling him where to serve on Match Point

This week he won the Citi Open Championship in Washington. He has made a lot of comments of note on his way to claiming this title including, “this has been one of the best weeks in my life”. He has remarked on his mindset, his connection with the locals, and his want to compete for the patrons. At times he spoke like a traditional custodian of the game. A stark departure from his usual soundbites.

Most media commentators are casually remarking that he is straightening up. But that is not what I am seeing. He is still breaking rules. Such as asking spectators where he should serve and playing ping-pong with kids before his matches. He is proving to be non-conformist but not destructive or disrespectful. He is boosting his connection with the community and developing his creativity on court. In his highlights he looks comfortable in his own skin and enjoying the experience as much as paying public. And, his tennis game has elevated because of it. He is channelling his audacity into ways that make him a better player (and in his words “a better person”) rather than a delinquent.

It is wonderful to see, and if he keeps up these behavioural habits he could be the one that breaks the Federa, Nadal, Djokovic era of dominance.

I’m pulling for you Nick, as well as all of the wonderful delinquents out there worldwide.

Learn More about the Behaviours That Matter for Leaders and Sales Professionals here.