Good sports leaders have the same positive characteristics as other successful leaders. Besides an expert skill level and a keen understanding of their sport, coaches and other sports team leaders typically possess effective interpersonal skills, such as the ability to successfully communicate with, motivate and appreciate others. They must also be accountable, flexible and patient and maintain the same amount of integrity they expect from their team members and other sports leaders.
Leaders influence people and groups of people toward certain goals and visions for the future. While some people are natural leaders and easily take their place in a group as the person in charge, others are chosen by a group, according to the Psychology Campus website. Some leaders are more task-oriented, and other leaders are more person-oriented, but effective sports leaders tend to be a combination of both. They’re not only interested in training, performance and winning, but also in interpersonal relationships with team members, Karlene Sugarman's article on leadership characteristics on Psych Web notes.
In sports, usually the leader is the coach, but sometimes certain players are appointed team leaders and must possess some of the same leadership characteristics as an effective coach. Coaches and team leaders are typically respected by other team members not only for their sports skills and abilities but also for other qualities, such as responsibility, work ethic and attitude, explains Bret Johnson of Camp Quarterback. Coaches and other sports leaders must lead by example most of all and must own and demonstrate the same qualities they expect from their team members. Successful sports leaders possess characteristics they want to see in others, such as confidence, discipline and self-control, according to Sugarman.
Sports leaders inspire others because they maintain a positive attitude, high morale and persistent drive toward goals, Johnson says. Effective leaders, including coaches and team leaders, are highly focused on a vision for their team and drive others toward outcome and results for that vision. They maintain a realistic strategy for success, effectively communicate their vision and possess the charisma needed to rally team support, explains Sugarman. Further, great sports leaders rally this support through encouragement and positive guidance, and not through dominance or an iron fist, she notes.
Team players respect a sports leader who is a hard worker and maintains enthusiasm for team goals, as well as for individual player success. One of the most important qualities you need as a coach is passion -- for the sport itself and toward individuals on the team, reports BBC Sport. A successful sports leader who keeps team members motivated and optimistic eventually realizes positive outcomes, such as team cohesion, performance and satisfaction.