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Published on November 28th, 2012 | by DerbyLife

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On Leadership

By Klaudia Sapieja

Sports provide an excellent opportunity to develop leadership skills. So what do you think when you hear “leader”?

Many people believe that leaders have “natural” traits and that in order to lead one must be confident, assertive, courageous, comfortable speaking in front of others, etc.

Although those are great leadership qualities, being a leader is much more than that. Leaders aren’t born, they’re made. Everyone can be a leader because there are different types and styles of leadership.

Let’s look at ducks for a moment. When ducks fly in the V formation, there is not one “super duck” that leads the whole way. Ducks take turns leading in order to conserve their energy. Each duck gets the opportunity to lead. So what can we learn from ducks? That every player has a role and place when it comes to being a leader. And for those who are “natural leaders,” we can learn that a good leader is also willing to follow. Each player has the potential to lead in their own unique way.

When professional hockey player Sidney Crosby was asked about leadership, he responded: “Leadership is more doing things on the ice than talking off the ice. For me actions have always spoke louder than words and I’ve always tried to lead by example on the ice. That’s my approach and it’s always been like that not matter whether I wore the C or not.”

Sidney Crosby is a perfect example of a silent leader. Someone who leads by example, and not by telling others what to do. When leaders “walk their talk” they show what they expect from others. When you see a player giving it all they got on every play, it’s hard not to follow.
So here are some things to keep in mind about leadership. And this is for every player, not just those wearing the C.

4 C’s of Wearing the C (based on Larry Lauer and Kevin Blue’s 3 C’s)

1) Caring

Great captains put the success of the team ahead of their own needs and truly care about the well-being of all team members. Phil Jackson, one of the greatest basketball coaches in history, believed that a leader is the player that takes the worst player on the team and makes them better. As a caring captain, you should treat all teammates with respect and find the potential in every team member.

2) Courageous

Captains are able to step up. Courageous captains must “walk the talk.” Remember that nobody will do what a leader is not willing to do first. During high pressure game situations, a captain must be able to elevate their game while staying composed and focused. This helps all team members relax and view challenges as opportunities rather than threats. Adversity is the true test of leadership. Courageous captains also possess humility. They are able to let go of mistakes by viewing them as learning opportunities. They know that how you respond to a mistake is more important than making the mistake in the first place.

3) Consistent

Success comes from consistency. To be a consistent captain you need to ensure that you give 100% effort in every practice and game. Leaders are the first ones on the track and commonly the last ones to leave. They make the most out of every training opportunity, which leads to consistent performance during competition.

4) Communication

Captains have an authentic way of leading through the way they communicate. They have the ability to communicate and act according to the team’s core values. Some lead by words, some lead by example. The most important thing is to be true to your style. The captain is also the one that stops the gossiping and “drama.” They help team members express their concerns in a productive manner to ensure that there is good team chemistry.

“The only real training for leadership is leadership.” So take your turn. Practice being a leader. Find your own style and realize that there is no right way to lead. Determine your core values and lead according to these. Be a duck!

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