Leadership in Sport Context

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Introduction

Leadership is hard to specifically define, roles and attributes change to adapt to the environment and context needed. George and Jones define leadership as ‘ the exercise of influence by one member of a group or organization over other members to help the group or organization’ (2002,pg. 375). This definition can be broken down with two definitions; Firstly exerting influence over other members and second aiding in a group or organization achieve its goals. ‘Leadership is something everyone would like to claim as a personal attribute, but it is very difficult to get any consensus on quite what it means’. (Weightman, 2004, pg. 129) Many theories and models have been developed to discover different approaches to leadership aiming to identify different traits and characteristics thought needed to be a good leader. In this portfolio I am going to explore different leadership approaches and attributes within the context of sport. Through examples of current leaders in sport I hope to identify similarities to theoretical evidence. Sport is a disciplined activity that demonstrates a lot of role models for leadership, not just athletes, a lot of jobs within the sport sector include leadership qualities.

What makes a leader?
The debate between is a leader born or made has opened up a lot of questions to what the attributes of a good leader are. Agreeing that a leader is influential and needs to inspire through organizing change makes us ponder weather traits of a leader are in their personalities or a skill you can acquire over time. Often leaders are associated with having certain personality traits that highlight them as an admirable person. Davis (1972) found the four general traits related to leadership success were: * Intelligence- leaders are found to have high intelligence than their followers * Social Maturity- self-assurance and self- respect and can handle a wide variety of social situations * Achievement drive- found to have a strong drive to get things done * Human- Relations attitudes- leaders know that they rely on other people to get things done, and therefore interested in their team members

This traits model focuses on the personality that the leader has on contrast to the job that needs to be done. Agreeing that traits above would aid an individual to take control and lead others in order to influence, further research found the context in what your leading was equally as important. Building on Davis’s model it is important for a leader to be a people person that can withhold authority in a variety of situations, but also with the ability to display their views to a variety of people in intention to influence and inspire. Davis amongst others were previously unsuccessful in showing theoretical evidences that proved common personality traits or qualities. It was soon found more realistic analyses would be to consider the functions a leader demonstrate in order to fulfill his task specific to the context.

Sport can be individual or team based but will still involve numerous people. A leadership model discovered in 1982 demonstrates the need of three leadership functions I found present in most sport leaders. These are: the task to be accomplished together, maintaining social cohesion of the group and individual needs of team members.

This model shows the three independent functions and how they overlap to form a leadership style that focuses on achieving the outcome of the leader in this case success for a sports team or individual. If the task fails or performed badly, there is diminished satisfaction for the individual and the group tends to fall apart. If the group lacks unity, this will also affect performance. If the individual is discontented, then he or she will not give his or her best performance. This emphasizes the essential of unity of leadership, demonstrating a single action by a leader may influence all areas, and is specific to a sport context....
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