Tuesday Newsday – Leadership

Mark WilliamsFor Tuesday Newsday this week I’m going to continue along with the AFL theme given the media here (as always) is currently overwhelmed with AFL news, particularly with the topic at hand.

Late last week another coach bowed out.  Stuffing punched out of him, and kicked when on the canvas.  He was a coach who had achieved a lot and hopefully his memory wont be soured in the way his career ended at a club in which he had so much history.  It’s amazing how quickly the media and football community will turn on a coach as soon as they smell a hint of blood.  Circling until they have their kill.  Today it seems that the pack has turn onto its next victim.  Bomberland looks like their next hunting ground, and dare I say it we may have another media driven kill before the end of the year if things don’t settle down.

But do the media have to shoulder all of the blame?  Surely not.  But yes, they would certainly contribute.

However this is not the focus of this post.  I wanted to focus on leadership.  What makes a good leader.  What can make an athlete, at any level, in any sport, want to run through brick walls, put their body on the line and achieve greatness?

Great coaches make a huge difference to sporting performance.  We all know of stories where a change of coach in a sporting organization has resulted in greatness with little change in personal or staffing, besides the person at the helm.

So what does that mean?  Does it mean the new coach has the superior game plan?  A greater understanding of the game?  An ability to gee up their chargers in manner that is truly heart felt?  Or is it a little of all of these?

Athletes firstly must respect their coach.  They have to want to play for their leader, enjoy being around their team mates and the institution they are involved with.  This is all ultimately driven by the coach.  They are in charge and ultimately shoulder the blame when things aren’t going well.

Teams need to be committed to a common goal and respect the person pulling the strings, even if they don’t like them.  When a coach needs to win the respect of the players mid season they are up for a huge task.  This is why I think Matthew Primus is a fantastic choice at Port Adelaide.  Given he is a past club hero, respect is not one thing he needs to earn.

But respect is definitely not the only thing a coach needs to have to be successful at the helm.  Making people feel appreciated, reward for hard work, knowing what makes someone tick.  All of these are things that are required.

So what type of coaching gets the best out of you?  Ra Ra ranting and pump ups, or clinical tactical coaching?  I think is is a very individual thing but one thing is for sure, with out the hearts and minds of your athletes a coach is always going to be pushing uphill to get results out of their team.  This goes for sport, business and life.

What are some attributes of great leaders you have worked under in the past?

image credit: www.kick2kick.net

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