10 Important Qualities of a Sports Leader

Effective high school sports leadership is about delivering outcomes that have been identified by yourself, teammates or coaches. Who we consider a poor sports leader may just be someone who was ineffective at a certain moment of time – this doesn’t make them a ‘poor’ or ‘bad’ sports leader, it just means they weren’t effective in that moment. There may also be many reasons why this result took place, some perhaps out of their control. Leadership is hard. It challenges us all and it is simply not possible to get it right every time. When you analyse your own and others leadership performance it is important to keep this in mind.

Qualities of Sports Leader & How to Become One | High School Sports

Leadership carries similar responsibilities across all aspects of life. Sports leadership is unique in the sense that most high students play sport purely for enjoyment and for the love of the game. There is an extra layer of passion towards sport. To be an effective high school sports leader, there are qualities that are important in leading a team successfully. 

We are all about student-athlete leadership and development. Specializing in high school athletes, our courses enhancing the leadership capacity and life skills of high school student-athletes. Through our development of leadership courses, we have researched and studied what makes an effective leader.

10 Important Qualities of a Sports Leader & How to Become One:

1. Authentic

Be yourself. Be confident in who you are as a person and this will help you be resilient in the face of adversity. High school is a challenging time, but also a time of growth and development. Be accepting of yourself and cultivate a healthy relationship of respect with yourself. Your self-worth translates into your leadership abilities. This is an important first step to being an effective high school leader because if you don’t believe in yourself, how will your teammates? Authenticity will also help you to inspire confidence in others.

2. Inclusive

Look to include others, get their opinions and thoughts. Listening to and respecting others, including them in decision making help make for a well-rounded final decision. Listen to others for expertise. Paying attention to all members of your team and being an active listener sets an example that everyone is valued.

3. Self-aware

Understand yourself and your impact on others. Effective high school sports leaders have a strong understanding of what motivates them as a person, their strengths and weaknesses, how they manage their emotions and most importantly how their emotions and behaviours have an effect on those around them. As a high school leader, you will be making conscious decisions based on the learning and data you have in order to achieve the goal you are focused on. You will be aware of your motivations and your teammates’ motivations and this will help you lead.

4. Driven

Be motivated to perform and improve. Make sure your own performance is hitting the high standards before you give feedback on someone else’s performance. Being driven requires passion and perseverance. Those two key ingredients basically make up the concept of ‘Grit’  which helps you define what it means to be driven as a leader. Grit is a concept that was born out of the research Angela Duckworth undertook to find out how people achieve success. Being driven doesn’t require talent and genius-level cognitive ability, but rather being driven requires having Grit and inspiring those around to be driven.

5. Relational

Effective high school sports leaders get along with others and build respect. Promote interconnectedness as an important aspect of your team. Be approachable as a leader. Develop strong, mutually respectful relationships, not just with your teammates and coaches but other stakeholders that add value to your team. This could be your principal at your high school, the administration, or the athletic department. Especially as a high school sports leader, be respectful and friendly with your teammates’ familIES because they will heavily influence your teammates.

6. Communicative

Effective communication enables information to be passed to your team and back to you as a leader in a timely, clear manner. This can be verbal or nonverbal. In fact, as a leader, you should communicate in both verbal and nonverbal. The actions you take set an example for the rest of your high school sports team. Miscommunication can be the downfall of teams. It’s important that high school leaders have an open communication channel with teammates, coaches and administrators so that everyone is on the same page.

7. Selfless

Great leaders put others before themselves. Leadership and teamwork are closely aligned with sacrifice. Being selfless, putting others or the team’s interests before your interests and going the extra yard are all examples of sacrifice and leadership in action. When you facilitate the success of others and recognize their growth, your team will see impressive results.

8. Responsible

Be accountable for your actions. This might be doing things that other people aren’t willing to do. Be the person who shows up early and stays late, making sure that everything runs smoothly and effectively. As the leader of your high school sports team, you may have to take the fall for actions that you didn’t directly cause. That is all part of being a leader, you take responsibility for your whole team.

9. Competitive

Be effort-focused and demands high standards. A commitment to excellence not just for yourself, but for your teammates will elevate your team. Your leadership abilities reflect back on your effort. A competitive nature, especially in sports leadership is critical to success.

10. Focused

Be attentive. Effective high school leaders thrive on learning. This can set you apart from other high school leaders. Draw your focus in from your coaches. Be intentional about defining your goals and how your goals can specifically be achieved. Set objectives that can be met and keep those objectives in mind every day as a high school sports leader.

The actions you take off the field are equally as important as the actions you take on the field.

The 4 C’s Learning Framework will guide you in your leadership growth. It provides a clear lens to analyze performance and behaviours.

Character – The development of self-awareness and behaviours such as empathy and integrity are central to character development

Confidence – Linked to positive self-worth, confidence in own ability and the ability to inspire confidence in others

Connectedness – Focuses on a learners ability to foster positive relationships with their peers, teammates or colleagues

Competence – Specifically the skills needed to be effective in a role and related to the technical, or the how and the tactical, or the why

At Leaders of Evolution, we specialize in student-athlete leadership and development. Our courses enhance the leadership capacity and life skills of high school student-athletes. Through our development of leadership courses, we have identified that high school sports leaders who are authentic, inclusive, self-aware, driven, communicative, responsible, competitive and focused will be successful. Click here to try our Free Taster Course – Emerging Leaders in Sport.

student leadership, athlete development, Learning Management System

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Emma Henzes

Enjoys telling stories through digital media and loves to travel trying the local food. While she is out of her athletic prime, Emma still loves to stay in shape and watch live sporting events with her family and friends. If you can’t find her at her laptop working for Leaders of Evolution, she’s probably at the beach.

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