Finding Your Role As A Leader
Effective leaders help their team run smoothly and progress towards the team’s goals. Unfortunately, many people feel as though there is only one way to be an effective leader. However, there are many ways that you can effectively lead your team towards higher levels of success, you just need to understand and embrace your role within your team.
Teams are made up of individuals with many different Athlete Types, meaning each individual athlete and coach will have specific strengths and weaknesses. Imagine if a player or coach who rather than utilized their strengths seemed to always play right into their weaknesses.
This could be a player who is a great teammate trying to do too much on their own or a coach who is a great listener choosing to speak first and impose their will on others.
In these cases, we would want the player and coach to focus on using their strengths rather than their weaknesses to help the team perform.
The same rule applies to leadership styles. If a person has trouble fitting their strengths into the complex whole of the team, they will find it difficult to lead effectively. Most of this disparity exists between actual effective leadership and what we perceive as effective leadership.
Imagine a player great at encouraging others feeling like they needed to yell and scream at their teammates to try and motivate them. Or, imagine a coach who excels at creating adaptive and creative solutions to problems becoming stubborn and sticking to a solution even if it clearly isn’t working, maybe even claiming that they know best and wondering why the players aren’t “buying in.”
In both of these cases that coach and player decided to not incorporate their natural strengths into their leadership style but rather acted how they imagined leaders act.
Unfortunately, this often has the opposite effect and may actually push others away rather than uniting them towards a goal.
The most effective leadership style will be different for each individual depending on the different strengths and weakness they bring to the team. How these strengths and weaknesses fit in with the team can be found using the Hedgehog Concept.
The Hedgehog Concept was popularized by Jim Collins and works to find the intersection between what you love to do, what you can be great at, and how you can serve others.
What do you love?
Effectively finding your leadership role on your team starts with asking yourself what you love to do. This doesn’t refer to activities you enjoy but rather how you approach your everyday life and relationships with others.
For instance, some people love to set goals and achieve them, some love getting to know their teammates or others well, some love seeking out answers to questions or instruction on how to improve, while others like encouraging and helping others through difficult situations.
Finding what you love can guide your leadership style to fit in best with your personality.
What can you be great at?
Not all individuals have the same strengths and weaknesses. Part of being a good leader is understanding your strengths and how you can use those strengths to make your team better.
Some people may be great at encouraging others to improve, listening to teammates when they are going through a difficult time, or coming up with new ideas from different perspectives.
Individuals who are great at these things to help their team help their teams succeed.
Your specific strengths will determine how you fit in with the team dynamic and how you lead. You should lead based on your strengths not based on how you imagine leaders act.
How can you serve best?
Each team is different regarding the ways that it needs to be led. Some teams need direction, some need improved communication, while others need a model to follow. Understanding your team’s greatest need will help you identify how you can use your strengths to fit that need.
This helps the team improve in areas it may have otherwise been lacking in, helping it function more effectively.
Putting it all together
Finding the intersection point between what you love to do, what you can be great at, and how you can serve your team will help you be a more effective leader for your team specifically. For example, a player or coach who loves accomplishing goals and is great at encouraging teammates through difficulties, on a team that needs improved communication has an opportunity to lead effectively.
This individual can encourage others to help them accomplish their goals and improve towards the team goals. They can also encourage and praise teammates when the communication level is good so that others can see how improved communication could help the team.
Effective leadership begins by finding how your specific leadership style fits in with the team. Use your natural strengths to help the team accomplish its goals and find success rather than acting how you think a leader acts.