Among athletic groups, leadership roles form through various group dynamic factors. Individual athletes, coaches, parents, and other adults involved are a few of the categories that leadership roles develop over the course of training sessions, team functions and games. Providing the appropriate type of leadership in these roles defines the success of the group whether it is an individual team, entire organization, or group of organizations that function under the umbrella of a corporation. The two quotes, from two amazing people featured in this post sum up Servant Leadership.
“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”
-Lao Tzu (Ancient Chinese Philosopher)-
Leaders do not simply announce their role to society and gather a group of followers. The ascension of an individual to a leadership role does not necessarily happen for the highest ranking person, or the one who holds the most impressive job title, or the one who claims to be the leader.
A leader is someone whose actions have placed them in a position of trust and authority among their peers.
The leadership viewpoint that seems to provide followers with the most effective experience is a philosophy of servant leadership. Athletes who perceive their coach to be a servant leader display higher intrinsic motivation, are more satisfied with their sport experience, are mentally tougher, and seem to perform better as a team and individually when compared with athletes coached by non servant leaders (Rieke, Hammermeister, & Chase 2008). Satisfaction, trust, and high performance are results of servant leadership off the field as well.
A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. The servant leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.
Servant coaches create a trusting and inclusive environment, have a humble attitude, and provide care and concern for their athletes on an individual level which leads to the participant having an enhanced sense of being treated in a positive manner. The quality relationship built between the coach and the players builds a sense of community and loyalty among the two groups leading to a more intimate, cohesive group of followers (Ebener & O’Connell, 2010).
EducatedCoaches.com believes this servant attitude and relationship can be built between parents and children, coach and player, organizational leader and employees, and basically any group relationship that features a leader and followers.
Our next blog will feature ten characteristics of a Servant Leader and why they are important to focus upon during all leader/follower interactions.
Thanks for participating in the EducatedCoaches.com blog!!!
Ebener, D. R., & O’Connell, D. J. (2010). How might servant leadership work? Nonprofit Management & Leadership, 20(3), 315-335.
Rieke, M., Hammermeister, J., & Chase, M. (2008). Servant leadership in sport: A new paradigm for effective coach behavior. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 3(2), 227-239.