Tony Charge has been looking at the concept of leadership in the context of his work with partners using Sports Wizard® programs.
Practical, Strategic, Astute and Agile Leadership
Leadership has many examples to follow, styles and applications. It involves science and art. Values are a critical part of leadership. A common feature of leaders is the desire to achieve a purpose or to help others to achieve a purpose.
Leadership has become more prominent in everyday thinking following the age of managerialism in the 1980s and 1990s. There is usually an evolutionary progression from individual to manager to leader in most fields: but some people have such high natural leadership abilities they miss the progression, while some promoted straight to leadership roles have failed dismally.
Analysis of ‘leadership’ as a concept has evolved. It includes looking at: natural compared with developed; stages of leadership in growth, renewal, transitioning and performance; and aligning with societal changes. The dynamics among leadership, management and human resource roles have changed irreversibly. Gender equality has also impacted leadership.
Leaders tend to have:
- The vision to see what others cannot see.
- The ability to strategize.
- The capacity to make ‘the right decision on the right issue at the right time’.
- The ability to influencing followers.
Leadership today, as illustrated in Robert Glaze’s ‘Leadership 4.0 in the age of digital convergence’ (link) requires application to global purposes and situations in some environments that have not been encountered.
Strategic leadership, change leadership, project leadership, policy leadership and team leadership are some of the labels that have emerged, but because the world is now interconnected in time, communication and networks like never before, a new leadership paradigm applies. As well as having new purposes and new applications, leaders must today have ‘situational and sudden change awareness’ beyond ever before or be overtaken by events. This applies in sport too.
While position descriptions wax lyrical for job applications about ‘strategic influence’ few prescribe essential qualities of today’s leaders in a much less authoritarian world – trust, humility, empathy, effective listening to followers, vision, positive governance, cognitive recognition of emerging crisis, composure, and much more.
Followers have enormous value to add, if the environment allows them to engage. Society will always depend on some followers becoming leaders. All leaders grow in their ability and influence throughout life (link).
Intelligence Augmentation (IA) has emerged in recent years from its roots in the 1950s) (link) as the counterfoil to the limitations of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and big data. Intelligence Augmentation is also known as Human Intelligence and it provides leaders with ‘situational awareness’ central to our focus on qualitative insights into leadership and followership (link).
Sport is transitioning from ‘positions’ to ‘roles’ and while positions will never be totally discarded due to physical requirements, the criticality of roles is becoming more obvious.
Leadership stands at the top of our program we call Drivers and Connectors. It is a skill-set in its own right. At Sports Wizard®, we recommend a leadership ‘group’ for every team. Each leader must have and exhibit a complementary set of aptitudes: personal, professional and crisis leadership skills. This is off-field and on-field. We place an emphasis on governance in this context.
Our leadership approach is tailored to the opportunity and responsibility of the role of leadership. Our approach is simple, practical and positive. It has a second level of application and asks How does the leader impact ongoing aspects of play? in the whole game. The sport leader is reliable, versatile and inventive and has the mental capacity and capability to lead during critical times.
Our approach to leadership has been developed by international coaches, sports academics, successful sporting and business CEOs who are award winners, and are coaches and mentors themselves. We believe organisations must resolve leadership and followership issues if they are to progress to the championship ready status our Organics™ program encourages and supports.
Photo by Fionn Claydon on Unsplash
Robert Glaze (Green Templeton College)