Who Should be a Leader and Why

by Philip MacDonald | Last updated

Leadership isn’t about following others.  It is about leading by example.  It’s about taking the bull by the horns, so to speak.  Every leader has a different way of leading.  This blog will discuss the different forms of leadership, who should lead and why.  

Some leaders are more vocal than others.  They encourage their teammates on and off the field by positive reinforcement while others are more quiet but lead by their athletic abilities.  And some lead through a combination of both.  Each team needs leadership as this will help give the team direction.

John Terry, captain of Chelsea FC, is one of the best defenders in England however much of his leading is by motivating his teammates through verbal encouragement.  The pros of this is you will always hear him.  As a defender he can see the entire field and coordinate the players in front of him.  The cons with is that if his choice of words becomes repetitive the players will start to tune him out.  This is one of the reasons yelling might yield an instant reaction but after some time players do not respond as well to it.  If you are more of a vocal leader make sure you chose your words carefully in order to get the best response from each player.

David Beckham, the most famous England player of all time and former England skipper.  Beckham’s approach to leadership is very different from that of John Terry and many other captains around the world.  As a winger and vocally quiet on the field, Beckham’s approach to leadership is about hard work and leading my example.  Yes he does provide moral and vocal support, however, Beckham’s presence is motivational and he would let athletic talents lead the way.  Does it work?  Could there have been a better captain during Beckham’s reign as captain?  Some would argue yes.  The most important sign is when you see the other players on the team responding positively to their leader.  This is when you know you have the right leader in place.  It is a combination of trust, inspiration and respect.

The pros of this form of leadership is seeing your captain on the field working his hardest and giving everything for the team.  This can be inspirational to others.  Players should already have this inspiration to play but seeing it on the field during every minute of the game can help motivate others.  On the downside, if the captain is not playing well and relies only on his athletic abilities then it can become frustrating and players won’t respond as well to this, especially if poor performances become a trend.  This is why it is important to have a balance between verbal leadership and leading by example on the field.

Why have a captain, if a team or club does not have a leader but thinks they can substitute this for several leaders they are wrong.  Surely there will always be more than one leader on a team but there must always be one true and ultimate leader.

Why defenders are often captain: deciding who on the field should be captain is extremely important.  More often than not the team captain is a defensive player.  One of the main reasons for this is they are the foundation of the formation, they are the first line of offense and the last line of defense.  They see the entire field at all times and can easily dictate who should be doing what.

The most important thing: would be to have a balance of verbal leadership and leading by example on the field.  Since every player on every team responds differently it is best to show multiple forms of leadership.  Not only this but you are preparing for any kind of situation that may arise on the field.  Think of it as your tool bag.  You never know when you might need to use one of those tools but you certainly want to have it just in case.  Finally, always be positive.  Positive reinforcement has been proven through many studies over the years that it is most effective in encouragement and receiving feedback from others.

How did your team pick its leaders?

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