The high school and collegiate athletic seasons are about to begin and coaches are always looking for someone on their team to be the standout leader. The idea of leadership has been arguably the most researched subject in the world. Why? Because it’s the one character trait that has a direct causal link to how well a project, team or staff produces and how well the team enjoys it.
And guess what coaches know? They understand that if they have a leader on the team, then that makes their job as coach much more effective. So I’m going to help by giving some ideas towards what a leader looks like from a book I studied while in business school.
This book mentioned so many great ideas but I will share one of its ideas with 9 sub-points that will spark the mind and create the process of any student-athlete who really wants to impact their program. Of course, with many of these points I’m adding my twist to them.
As a leader, LEARNING must be your attitude.
- Leaders learn about people
You should be disciplined in understanding people and interpersonal dynamics. This point is the reason why having character (transparency & integrity) is of utmost importance. The foundation of being able to do this is SELF-AWARENESS. If you don’t know yourself and have a settled nature about self, you will be easily controlled by the situations that pop up within a team.
- Leaders learn about goals
Not how best to create them but how they influence the people around. You should begin to learn when to celebrate and when to push forward. You should learn when goals are too stressful and when they are too weak and limiting. Think about this.
- Leaders learn about processes
You should notice how the everyday processes that you and your team takes to get ready for practice or a game impacts your play and attention. These processes are most often called routines. These routines are meant to prime your mind and body for play. As a leader you must study if those actually work and if not what should be added or taken away.
- Leaders must learn about measurements of performance
As a leader you should know what you are trying to build in the minds of the athletes. Because based on your coaches’ desire, you should begin to measure if the team is accomplishing that desire. As a leader you may want to measure attitude & effort instead of wins & losses. But that all depends on what you want to see developed within the team. What does the coach want to see?
- Leaders learn about rewards
Rewards are either intrinsic or extrinsic. You should know which works best for motivation with the individuals on your team. You learn by creating those rewards. Figure it out.
- Leaders learn about trends
Leaders reflect so they can pull out the lessons from every success and mistake made. Lessons are the confidences of leaders. This is why acting on an idea is the best thing a leader can do whether or not it succeeds. Because at the very least it leaves bread crumbs.
- Leaders learn about their environment
The physical environment may create a negative affect in people and it’s your job as a leader to see this. You attempt to change the environment with new decals or new paraphernalia that could shift the players attention to a different emotion. You can also choose to meet up in a different place to start, create the mood, then take that mood back into the other environment. Leaders see and understand this and are ready to implement something new if need be.
- Leaders learn about obstacles and oppositions
With anything that you will do, their will always be someone opposed to it. Leaders find out what the concerns are and deal with them accordingly. Sometimes you’ll have to move forward with the opposition still there, sometimes it may just be a misunderstanding. These obstacles also come in the form of psychological ones that hinder team performance. As the leader you MUST learn what they are first then figure out how best to deal with them. This point leans heavily on you having #1 already!
- Leaders learn the HOW
With every thing that we just mentioned, assuming that you have embodied them, you should then have an understanding on how to affect your team. You should be able to identify when someone on the team is naturally playing a role that is beneficial and coax that person to continue. You don’t have to be the person doing what is needed; don’t let pride make you a micro-manager. Learn how to control the how through using natural emerging roles within the team.
Is there anything else that you can think to add? #PushFoward #JOC