5 simple questions to ask your athletes about leadership

Leadership is such a hot topic for coaches and teams....especially at the beginning of the season when teams are at the forming stage of group development - all new and nice! 

There are tons of different books, many different views, and some strong opinions about 'how one should lead' and 'be led'.

It's not easy to be a leader!  Everyone has a different style.  Are you born with it? 

Leaders need to be adaptable to who they are leading and take into account the specific situation they are in. With all of this information, how do you figure out what to do? It seems so elusive! There's so much to say, where do you even start?

As a coach, you are a leader. Whether you consciously think about it or not, you teach your athletes about leadership every single day. Take some time to talk about it and be prepared to coach your athletes on how to develop into better leaders.

In leadership - as with your sport - there are skills that can be learned and developed to improve.

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Leadership can be taught

How many times have you wondered about leadership during the recruiting process? Wouldn't it be great if you could determine who would become your best team leaders...in advance?

My first year as a head coach I thought I would recruit some swimmers who had "team captain" listed on their profile and badda-bing...I would have a handful of great leaders on my team. I wanted those "born leaders". Once I had them in my program, they would know how to lead, and then step up to do the rest. It didn't take long for me to figure out team leadership wasn't going to be quite so automatic.

What is leadership? Where do you even start? Leadership is a buzz-word in the corporate world today. Just two years ago when I wrote the original article, Amazon listed 88,985 books with the word 'leadership' in the title.  Today I searched and found the number had escalated to 133,175. 

The definition of leadership starts with you and your experiences. Its definitely worth having a discussion about leadership with your team - to define it and get clear. 

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