Cranbourne FC Leadership Group - undefeated 2011 Premiers

Effective Leadership

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

By Richard Maloney

In the current Australian local sporting club environment, teams often have a very limited understanding of how to get the most out of their leadership group. The key to this is an exceptionally powerful, untapped resource and it is a missing link to optimum success.

Throughout the last ten years I have conducted numerous case studies and I have discovered that once your leadership group is well versed and educated in the basics of leadership, your club will perform at a much higher level both on and off the playing field.

The benefits of these simple but powerful learnings are vast;

  • Your club is likely to win more games
  • Your club will evolve in to a more authentic, caring team that constantly takes responsibility for their actions
  • You are able to release the coaches to focus on other important tasks
  • There are less player issues
  • Recruiting will reduce as the leaders take more ownership of the club
  • Your club will save valuable funds
  • People around the club will become much more involved as a result of being regularly acknowledged and appreciated
  • Improved community perception

Leadership groups at the local sporting club level often work on a very flimsy foundation, which means when the going gets tough the leaders are more likely to go missing, both on and off the field.   Our results reveal that when you educate your leaders, at any age, the entire club will benefit.  The leaders, players, board members, coaches, spectators and volunteers will notice a significant and lasting positive impact.

We have also seen that successful leadership groups can vary in all ages and sizes, which means the true success for any leadership group is more about the system they implement and the regularity of the education than the group itself. Real and lasting change takes constant repetition. It is recommended that the Leadership group meet weekly throughout the season for no more than 30-35 minutes.  There is no question that your club can have success without the education of leadership, however it is time to work smarter instead of harder.

By educating boys into responsible men your sports club will be rewarded, but the real winner will be the broader community. The best time to educate people is when they are having fun, hence why sports clubs play a much bigger role in society that we probably realise. Generation Y learns best when they are given regular peer feedback and provided with new skills, tools and techniques.  Schooling or lecturing them will prove ineffective.

Tthe best teams have a critical mass of leaders.  When a man is given responsibility he grows, and when a man is growing he is at his fundamental best in life.

When you are selecting your leadership group, I would suggest that you inform the entire playing group prior so all players are given the opportunity to step up.  It is also important that they are made aware that it is a huge honour and responsibility if selected. Once you have a handle on who you believe would be best suited, ask the team who they would like in the group by handing out a sheet of paper for each member to rank their top 5 candidates. Lastly, meet with your Coaches and select your leaders.

Once the leadership group has been formed, the four areas they should focus on over the season are;

  1. On Field Leadership – eg. picking up players off the deck at every stoppage, encouraging above and beyond, or simply being accountable to deliver an agreed minimum amount of tackles each game etc.
  2. Off Field Leadership – eg. running a ‘Volunteer of the Week’ acknowledgement award, managing player participation during pre-season and in-season training sessions or being in charge of promoting past player attendance etc.
  3. Relationship Management – eg. being proactive when it comes to building more genuine relationships with everyone at the club and learning how to manage other team mates challenges before they become problems. No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
  4. Self-leadership – eg. learning how to become credible men, understanding more about what makes great leaders great, demonstrating real leadership on a weekly basis and receiving constant peer feedback for real time growth, both around the football club and the community.

If you want exceptional leadership and greater success at your club, simply follow these two steps:

  • Find a person at the club who is genuinely passionate about people and the club, who is willing and able to devote only 45 minutes a week to the leadership program.
  • Contact ‘The Sports Leadership Coach’.  We will partner with your club for the entire season and walk you through the system that we have created that will bring significant positive change and success.

The true test that separates good coaches from great coaches is simply measured by how they are remembered when their time is up.  Every coach has an expiry date, when is yours? Ask yourself, are you working hard or smart? And how will you be remembered as a leader and a game changer when you are gone?

Richard Maloney is a Leadership & Quality Mind Strategist working at the Western Bulldogs AFL and with many other teams and individuals nationally and internationally.

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