Leadership in Sport

Leadership in sport

The aim of this lesson is to learn about the characteristics of strong leaders and the types of leadership styles. Leadership involves personal relationships, setting examples, the motivation of the team and encouragement of individuals.


Leadership Qualities

The trait theory suggests that leaders are born with their leadership qualities.

The social learning theory states that leaders learn to use their skills to meet the demands of the situation

Leaders usually either emerge from within a group due to the selection by other team members or their talent and qualities. Or are selected by the teacher/coach etc.

The qualities usually present in a leader include:

  • Good communication skills
  • Enthusiasm
  • High motivation
  • Vision of the task in hand
  • High ability
  • Charisma

Leadership Styles

Leaders can be grouped into one of the following two types, although most good leaders are a bit of both!

Task-oriented: Focus solely on the task in hand

Person-oriented: Focus on the interpersonal relationships within the team

Fiedler theorised that task-oriented leaders are more successful when a situation is either very positive or very negative. More example when the team is winning easily or when the team is losing badly and demotivation may become a factor. A person-oriented leader is likely to more successful in moderate situations.

The following continuum has also been designed to show the types of leadership style:

Authoritarian: Task-oriented and dictator style. Makes all the decisions and very direct in their approach

Democratic: person-oriented and takes into account team members ideas and feelings, shows interest in others

Laissez-faire: Provides little support or input and lets team members do as they wish

Good leaders, whether they be task or person orientated will use all five of the following behaviours as and when they are required by the situation.

  • Rewarding behaviour
  • Social support
  • Autocratic behaviour
  • Democratic behaviour
  • Training and behaviour

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