Leadership: The Force that Unites Teams

The leaders take the initiative so that the union really does force.

Today it is known that leadership is very important in work teams. Sports teams are teams that work together, that have to have a head that guides them and that ultimately makes the decisions.

A team without leadership is like a ship adrift, it does not know where it is going. And a team that wants to be successful cannot be run that way.

The leader must be able to clearly convey his message, he must be able to seduce with his speech and reaffirm it with his actions, otherwise the speech will lose credibility and the team will feel cheated.

The coach also has to transmit confidence to his managers during the matches, it cannot be a nervous wreck, a common mistake of coaches is that they change their behavior as competitions approach or in the tournaments themselves, transmitting their mistrust to the players .

Leadership is a privilege but that implies a responsibility that the person must be willing to assume, because it is not easy to carry out this role.

Hesselbein Golsmith, and Beckhard (1996) emphasize that leaders must be aware of the following:

  • The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers. Some individuals are thinkers, other prophets. Both roles are important and very necessary. But without followers there can be no leaders.
  • An effective leader is not someone who is loved or admired. He is someone whose followers do the right thing. Popularity is not leadership. The results are.
  • Leaders are very visible. Therefore they set examples.
  • Leadership is not rank, privilege, titles, or money. It is responsibility.

Coach leadership:

Octopus model: The head is the trainer and the tentacles are the physical trainer, doctor, nutritionist, kinesiologist, masseur, psychologist, etc.

We collect and take as an example of a coach leader model of a work team, the case of José Pekerman , former coach of the Argentine soccer team, taken from Roffé (2006):

  • Low Profile: You are comfortable working on what you love and avoid drawing attention or making high-sounding statements.
  • Rational and analytical: He is intelligent and thinking, he breaks down every detail.
  • Balance: It keeps you in triumph and in defeat. He never underestimates rivals, he always values ​​and respects them.
  • Humble: They say that only wise men are and José shows it in every attitude.
  • Wisdom: An example is that of Abbondanzieri. After a weak game he had against Croatia in March, he benched him and suggested psychological help to resolve the issue of his confidence and excess responsibility (the goalkeeper himself acknowledged it in various media, that is why he commented on it). Today he is the owner and figure of the team.
  • Simple: To give the message to each soccer player and communicate their mission on the field.
  • Human: He cares about the player as a person, what he thinks and what he feels.
  • Prudent: never make hasty decisions.
  • He does not have favorites: He does not “marry” anyone, no player feels privileged and in this way forces everyone to give their best effort.
  • He does not believe he has all the knowledge: He forms an “interdisciplinary” team, listens to the other disciplines, selects the necessary information and then makes the best decisions, reducing the margin of error.
  • Experience: He knows how to learn from what happens to him and capitalize on it.
  • Avoid controversy: They do not interest you because they do not contribute anything to enrich you.
  • He is not demagogic or successful: That is why he was highly criticized by the media, but his work, his projects (like this 12-year-old in Argentine football, from seeds harvested in a big way) and his honesty end up being imposed by capacity.
  • He sets difficult but realistic goals: He knows how to unite groups and obtain from each person the best that he can give, the closest to his potential.
  • Vision and anticipation: As a company manager, the “macro” vision of what will come in the medium and long term ends up being decisive. His intelligence gives him an advantage in this regard and makes him a “white fly” in this complex world of football.
  • Nonconformist: Always wants to learn and correct mistakes, even when things are going well for him. You are not fooled by achievements.
  • He knows how to say no: In certain situations he assumes the risks and says “no” when it would be easier or more comfortable to say “sir. An example: his refusal to assume the senior team twice because it was not his time yet.
  • Fair play : You care about fair play, not winning by any means. It has ethical values ​​that it instills in its clients.
  • Positive mentality: He is a winner and knows how to transmit it to players and the rest of the coaching staff.

Player leadership:

In the teams there must be a leader within the group, otherwise the group will not work, there must be someone who orders and commands within the field, where the coach does not arrive, he must do it. He is the ambassador of the coach’s message, in short, it helps his message to arrive in his language and as equals, horizontally or symmetrically because no matter how close he is to the coach, his simple role already implies verticality or asymmetry. This is why it is so important to have a leader among the players, on the court.

We find within the players two types of leader in general:

  • Constructive leader: There are few of these, you have to take care of them, cultivate them, show them as models and work with them, they are the ones who are closest to the group, which can transmit the message in a clearer way and in language and with codes that manages the group.
  • Destructive leader: There are more to these than the previous ones, they are the ones who think: “things are done as I say or they are not done”. They are the ones who sabotage the work, they do not help to build but to destroy and break the unity of the team. There are two options:

Earning them: It is not easy at all, it requires changing your egocentricity, sometimes very ingrained

  • their deep desires to sabotage or for the process to fail because they were right that way. They think “I” first before “us”.
  • Expel them: Many times the cost of expelling them is not accepted, since they can have social recognition, be good players, but they do not meet the most important requirement of “pushing the car” they do not push the car to the same side as the group but for yours, it is either your way or it is not. So keeping them, despite getting along with the group and / or their technical quality, their permanence, would be very detrimental. You cannot keep them if you want to achieve a well cohesive group of someone who prioritizes the self over the us. That is why not infrequently it is seen how coaches do not summon “great players”, it will be for something, one does not know the conflicts they can generate or the damage they can do to the group.

Who should be the leader among the players?

The captain can and should be the team leader, there may be more than one leader, such as a sub-captain who helps for example, since in a group there can be several leaders. It is necessary to see that these are not sabotaged and that they are clear about the common objective and that this is more important than the self, than the rings or friends, first there is something bigger, a country, an institution, the team, the team always comes first. team. The captain must help generate discipline, responsibility, identity and unity in the group, he must help resolve internal conflicts that suddenly escapes the coach. This leader is very important, since he is the one who must assume leadership on the field, in the games.

The leader within a team of players must be the captain and must meet the following conditions:

  • Being a good player technically speaking.
  • Be respected by the group.
  • Have good grades (if you are in school).
  • Be an example for the group on and off the field. Words are carried by the wind unlike actions. It is very bad for example, if he says you have to be united as a group and he travels in first class while the rest do it in popular. Or he says we have to take care of ourselves for the game and it appears on television that he was taking days before a game.
  • Lead within the field: have command voice, order. Assume active leadership on the field.
  • Provide calm, tranquility, security, confidence, and support to his teammates, that the teammate knows that he has his captain, that he will show his face for him.

For example, a great leader and captain of the Italian team was Fabio Cannavaro , world soccer champion in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. He met all the aforementioned requirements and in the penalty shoot-out he stood unscathed with his gaze fixed in the middle of all his teammates. With an upright posture with folded arms, which when he saw him gave great security, confidence and determination to his teammates despite how difficult it is to define a World Cup by penalties in a final, emotionally speaking and taking into account that in 1994 (final against Brazil ) and 1998 (quarter-finals against France) Italy lost on penalties. In summary, a leader within the field of play must have technique, respect, be an example, command and transmit confidence.


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