Leadership has become a hot topic in sports today. Coaches look for athletes who can be leaders on their teams – helping develop and maintain positive team culture and keep order among the team on and off the field.
With this focus on leadership, you’ve likely heard about vocal leadership (communicating effectively, encouraging teammates, and so on) and leading by example (arriving early, always working hard, and so on). However, less emphasis has been placed on transformational leadership.
Here’s how to really stand out with your leadership skills: Be a transformational leader.
Transformational leaders seek to inspire those around them. Instead of just wanting to lead their teammates to follow them or do what they’re supposed to do, transformational leaders help teammates understand the purpose behind what they’re doing (the reason for a particular drill, or the team’s overall objectives for the season) to enhance commitment and motivation. These transformational team leaders help all members of the team see the team’s ultimate vision.
Transformational leaders inspire those around them by:
Being a good role model and practicing what they preach
Setting high expectations and showing optimism that everyone can meet the challenge
Actively being part of team culture development and empowering teammates to do the same
Paying attention to the needs of every team member and leading team members in ways that they’ll respond to
This season, take the opportunity to go beyond being a leader by example or the vocal leader who encourages teammates or pumps them up. While that’s all helpful, elevating your leadership game will make a bigger impact on the team and in the process, enhance your experience on the team, too!
Take some time right now to think about – and write down! – what you can do to check off each of those four transformational leadership criterion. Then, refer back to your ideas before practices to remind yourself what to focus on to be the leader your team needs.