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Leadership Style

Shared by Coach Bob Starkey at LSU… another good, one as usual.  Thanks coach.

The following is excerpt from Cory Dodds of The Academy of Sports Leadership:

Over the past decade I have watched many coaches in action and have detected a distinct difference between two dominant leadership styles. There are many ways to describe the leadership habits of coaches, but it appears to me that as leaders most fall into two categories—either drivers or builders. Drivers tend to be what leadership experts refer to as transactional leaders while builders fall pretty naturally into the category of transformational leaders. Drivers and builders have two very different leadership mind-sets and skill sets.

Drivers are generally after impressive achievements, especially the attainment of fame, status, popularity, or power. Not that there is anything wrong with that, as Jerry Seinfeld would say. But builders know that when success just means wealth, fame, status, and power it doesn‘t last and usually isn‘t satisfying. Builders commit to their calling and believe that people really do matter. For them, significance is found in contributing to the lives of their players.

Coaching is a major factor in any athlete‘s success. Most players recognize this. They‘ve been coached since they were tots playing in youth leagues. And for the most part they‘ve believed in and trusted their coaches. However, many adults reveal years later that they learned little from coaches they encountered in their student-athletic experience. Generally, the coaches that fail to impact student-athletes are transactional leaders.

Drivers / Dominant Leadership Style: Transactional

« Put results first. Relationships are subordinate to results, a means to an end.

« Make the decisions. Drivers like being decisive and in control. Drivers set the agenda.

« Possess a controlling spirit. They feel if they can control people, they’ll maintain absolute authority.

« Resort to more regulations. Drivers use rule and regulations to enforce compliance. Drivers want things done their way.

« Crack the whip. Drivers keep pressure on. Come down hard when goals aren’t attained.

« Take a short-term focus. Drivers tend to focus on the day’s or week’s results.

« Focus on “what” have you done for me lately? Enough said.

« Get “in your face.” Drivers thrive on confrontation. “My way or the highway”.

« Are more critical than positive. Drivers find it difficult to accentuate the positive.

« Power trip. Fear giving away power. Empowering student-athletes to become team leaders is not a priority.

« Span of vision. Concern is for results today regardless of costs tomorrow.

Builders / Dominant Leadership Style: Transformative

« Put people first. Relationships are priorities to producing results.

« Stress team capabilities. Builders want to build systems and talent.

« Get others involved. Builders seek input from other coaches and value input from players.

« Let solutions emerge. Builders don’t try to tackle every problem knowing that some problems solve themselves.

« Take a long-term focus. Builders assemble players, programs, and processes.

« Are mission driven. It’s the mission that sets the priorities.

« Are servant leaders. What’s my contribution?  Builders possess a mental model stimulated by a “What can I contribute to the lives of my players” approach to leading.

« Embrace empowerment. Builders work to prepare others for leadership roles.

« Support identity of team. No two teams will ever be the same. Builders see value in the diversity of personalities.

« Vision is the main course, not an appetizer. Builders weigh the costs of today’s decisions on tomorrow growth and development.

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