What factors contribute to make a good leader and how might your style of leadership vary to be successful when involved in individual, racket and team activities. Over the years Leadership has been defined by many researchers and theorists. Some of which involve: Barrow (1977): Leadership is the behavioural process of influencing individuals and groups towards set goals. This definition suggests that leaders can influence or guide, yet do not necessarily prescribe the exact outcome of the event.
I feel it is therefore an accurate definition as is shown by football managers prescribing the ideal direction of play to the players yet it is only an influence as the game rarely works out how the manager exactly prescribed. Eisenhower: Effective leadership is about getting people to do what you want, when you want it and in the way you want because they want to. This is again a very accurate idea of the role of effective leadership. One can prescribe what, when and how yet to be an effective leader one needs to empower the players as this will gain the maximum result from them. This is shown in an athlete/coach relationship.
If the coach prescribes a hard training session and orders the athlete to do it, invariably the athlete will not perform it to their maximum effort. Yet if the coach deliberates with the individual and they work together in producing a training plan it is more likely that the athlete will put more effort into the task. Thomas Carlyle (1847): The qualities found in individuals to become a leader are in us from birth, the skills to be a great leader cannot be learnt. This is more of a psychological response to leadership and is almost contradicted by practice of leaders in sport today.
Many of the great leaders in sport today have often been in the port for a long time, gaining experience and knowledge and building on their skills as a leader. It is often evident that younger leaders are not as successful as those who have learnt and picked up the knowledge along their sporting journey to become effective leaders. There are two main types of leader, emergent and prescribed. Emergent leaders are those who come from within a team or group and have been elected as a result of their skill or ability. They are leaders who people in the team look to for guidance and support whilst out on the field or pitch.
Such examples of emergent leaders are football team captains who have much experience and knowledge to lead the team forward and encourage team in their play. An example of such is David Beckham when he was captain of England football team. They tend to use a democratic style of leadership (see later) and have great respect from the players. Emergent leaders work well in team sports such as football and rugby as they boost team morale and work at connecting the team together. Prescribed leaders are appointed by a higher rank within the team or an outside agency. Such an example is football manager or chairman of the association.
They too have the respect of the players yet in a different way. They tend to be more authoritarian and lead in a autocratic style. They are more suited towards racket sports such as badminton or tennis as they require less of the ‘team spirit’ ethic and more technical advice. There are many factors associated with becoming an effective leader and good leaders often hold traits of all the essential qualities. It is important to incorporate all the qualities into the leading and not over emphasise one characteristic as this could lead to a decline in effectiveness. The following outline some of the essential qualities of an effective leader.