Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Leadership, Teamwork, Team, Sports, Leader, Organization, Performance, Strategy

Pages: 8

Words: 2200

Published: 2021/01/17

Organizing human endeavors for the achievement of a common objective requires the guidance and control by a leadership. The concept of leadership is an evergreen topic under discussion because of the scope and expanse of studies it offers to the researchers and aspiring professionals. Despite the countless findings and assumptions made on leadership, the debate still continues as to which model is the most universal one. Organizations have to adopt the leadership matching their standards, visions and strategies depending upon the size of their structure. As such, the leadership theories can vary in expectations and applications in the organizational set up. Researchers have identified and relied on the importance of two forms of leadership such as transformational and transactional with each of them having its own nature and expectations about the outcome. Irrespective of the kind, the effect of leadership generally depends on the power it can emphasize upon the followers within the structural relationship. Particularly in organizations like sports teams, the need for a strong leader is inevitable. The combination of power and influence has an impacting role in transforming the individual interests into the vision, mission and strategy of the organization. This paper will investigate the importance of the charismatic leadership style in organizations like sports teams by evaluating the relevance of transformational and transactional leadership styles.

The Organization: Structure and Vision

When I joined the football team it had already lifted three consecutive championships at the state level and was heading for the national level tournaments. I was one of the many players who tried their luck frequently to enter the team because of its popularity among the football fans across the region. Besides this, a participation certificate from the national level games meant that things would be easy for us to find a job after the major events. That is how the expectation about a player under quality leadership goes in connection with his prospective careers. The captain and coach Mr X had formed the team with a group of players from the local circle and continued to give them intensive training to match the national standards. Mr X himself has a brilliant track-record for having played in two international clubs besides the participation in state tournaments right from his early years in the game. Besides this, he is a great leader with the qualities to influence others. According to Weiss (2011), leadership denotes the ability of a person to affect the thoughts and actions of others and motivate them to execute certain tasks with values towards accomplishment of a common goal (ch.1.1). This conceptual identity matches the traits of the team captain and the vice captain.
The team has a particular structure headed by the captain whom Mr Y, the vice captain assists. Even though the game is for eleven players, we are a squad of thirty members of different ages and experience levels. This organizing became successful because of the vision the leadership has applied in the selection process. We have brief meetings before and after the training session each day, which is an irrevocable routine for the captain and the vice captain. These meetings are an inevitable function in any organization for getting people ideologically and conceptually together. For team events like sports, the captain is the immediate leadership functionary with an emotional attachment with the team. It is this emotional factor that makes leadership different from management which exclusively focuses on the process rather than the attention for individual performers (Weiss ch.1.1). In these meetings, they discuss the developments and defaults and make reviews of the player-level performance with regards to the changing team requirements. Sometimes the articulation becomes serious in nature and most of us face a kind of discomfort; however, the pep talks by the seniors and the leaders bring our mood back to the game and things get normal. The influence of pep talks is great when the leader has a great position. As an example, President Obama who in his Wakefield High School meeting at Arlington mentioned the need for improving academic skills to the students by indicating the success stories of others (Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama: Back to School Event, September 8, 2009). The team has funders and backers for its preparations and the promotion of the game strategies. Usually, the strategies mean devising game plans, targeting particular players and about the tactics of managing the on-field body language. The leaders are both transactional and transformational in their style and approach to the team game. During the preparation and training sessions, they try to influence the entire team by giving theoretical advice and various methods to exercise their power to punishment and reward the performance. This transformational approach helps the team members and junior players develop a sense of responsibility for the team’s success.
The system of close observation and timely correction reflects the high confidence and team spirit which can keep the team a formidable one for the opponents. However, during the tournaments, the leadership allows the players to take their spot and deliver their performance without pressure. During the progress of team games and tournaments, it is important to maintain cohesion, which is possible through open talking session in democratic manner. According to Vincer andLoughead (2010), the cohesive accomplishment of group goals by transforming the personal factors to team factors on the basis of the environmental factors is possible with the democratic approach of the leaders (pp. 448-451). This looks more like a transactional approach which allows the players to take out their own strategies to work on the momentary changes in playing conditions and player positions on the field. The captain and vice captain realizes that an interim pressure can affect the players integrity and thus the game will lead to a spoil sport. Therefore, they behave more democratically and focus and remind the target of winning the game without giving superior suggestion. This is a perfect boost for the team during the progress of the matches, which makes each player dedicate his efforts for the team’s success with the love for his leaders. The factor of charisma is an important aspect of the team because each member of the team looks forward to seeing the captain perform well and assess the performance at both individual and team levels. From this angle of inspiration they provide, it is more likely that the team has a strong charismatic leadership which has the comprehensive quality of and essence of an exemplary leadership. Considering the methods, strategies and other leadership inputs and the aspects of power and influence the leadership possesses, this team can serve as an example of the evaluation of the concept of leadership in a comprehensive manner.

Charismatic Leadership

A true leader is one who leads by example. To make this ideal realistic, the leaders must work harder than others with the objective of influencing their subordinates for drawing their skills without exploiting them. In this regard, leaders are responsible to adequately justify the expectations set on them and lead their teams from the frontline during difficult times. Not only their power and position in the organization, but also their character count a lot for the matter of influence. The persona of the leader has a great amount of influence on the performance of the followers. According to a definition, “A charismatic leader is one who is able to draw and influence followers though the sheer force and magnetism of his or her personality, rather than through his or her position or organization” (Weiss, 2009, ch.2.3). The context of managing team events such as athletics and sports requires the charismatic input of the leaders rather than their technical expertise and the command of their position in the group. Needless to say, that an underperforming and morally deviated team leader cannot influence the followers in such contexts which demands the commitment of individuals towards the group goals. As opined by Weber (as cited in Weiss, 2009), a leader with an exceptional quality as part of his character can create a divine impact on the followers and that particular quality derives from his inherited attributes such as charm and other unique features. This expectation is comparable with many examples among the legendary sports personalities such as Don Bradman, Sachin Tendulkar, Pele, Diego Maradona etc. There are not many people in this category who could have inspired the followers better by the influence of their personality.

Role of Effective Leadership

Leadership generally appears in two basic forms; transactional leadership and transformational leadership. The choice of the right leadership style depends upon the nature of the task and required standards of performance. However, it is important to notice that the process of changing a group of performers into a team requires the sophisticated approach of the leadership. Such a transformation makes sure that the leaders ensure the group members’ commitment to the assigned tasks, processed teamwork, higher level of competency, satisfaction and feasibility of the members (Weiss, ch.5.4). In order to see the transformation taking effect, the leadership should focus on the transformational line of managing the participants. The transformational style of leadership is advisable because of its positive effects on the entire team. It is because the transformational leaders change the mindsets of the followers with strong values and ethical enrichment while taking them to the goal oriented tasks (Weiss, ch.2.). In case of events like sports and games, the role of transformational leadership is important for maintaining the cohesive performance spirit among the members. When they finish a certain piece of job, they can get ready for the next part of it without the constant call by the leader if they are transformed to the tune of the game’s protocol.
A charismatic leader is more flexible than a transactional leader because of the lack of a standard theory he follows. For charismatic leaders, actions speak louder than words and therefore they are better performers than most other kinds of leaders. Fortunately, the team has charismatic leaders who lead the members with their paradigm performance and personality. Transactional leadership differs from charismatic leadership in its traditional management approach. According to a finding, transactional leaders engage in routine activities of planning, scheduling and controlling through and with subordinates with a motive to establish stability rather than initiating changes (Weiss, ch.2.1).This approach is not enough for a team leadership to manage and plan the games in competitive events which demands frequent changes of strategies and control activities. However, the rewarding system applied in the transactional leadership can be considered for negotiating the performance standards in the team events.
The role of setting goals is an important function for all kinds of leadership. Vision, mission and strategy are the three key aspects leaders have to take care of in managing a team activity. Scholarly opinions suggest that a vision is a comprehensible representation of the chosen prospect of a person or a group of people. Vision is thus the guiding factor for the leaders for their own performance by which they can influence others in the charismatic leadership style. However, the visions must be short term for managing sports groups because of the changing dynamics and the player performance. As such, the vision of a team leader makes him prepare his team to achieve a preset goal within a stipulated timeframe. Another important guiding spirit is mission before a leader. Unlike vision, mission has a longer conceptual existence as it is the doctrine on which an organization exists. Cardona and Rey (2008) opine that, besides being the role models, leaders must communicate their mission to the followers well enough to enable and inspire them to take up the leaders of the missions themselves. The combination of vision and mission becomes proactive among the team members with the intervention of a strategic approach by the leadership. In the leadership context, strategy is the device for detecting the direction of the organization’s progress. According to an observation, a strategy is the precautious understanding about the internal and external environments of an organization for the purpose of making right and applicable decisions to meet the desired aims (Strategy, Structure and Organisational Culture, n.d. p.2). All these factors are equally important for directing the individual participation towards the group objective. From the closer observation I have made about the leadership of the organization, I see that the transformational leadership is workable for a lot of senior players; while it lacks the merit on the new comers. Even though there is a parallel follow up among all the members in the democratic system, the need for creating a more transaction-based leadership becomes a requirement with the exit of the present leaders. The immediate change I would suggest is a player-level evaluation system which monitors the performance of each player for a rewarding strategy. This initiative will see the exit of non-productive players and will give opportunities for the bench strength to test their talents irrespective of the ethical concerns about seniority neglect.

Conclusion

Leadership has numerous styles and characteristics as it has numerous followers. The success and survival of an organization depends on the effectiveness of its leadership. Traditionally, leadership has been transformational and transactional, which have later developed into various sub-kinds. The organization in the example has a leadership with more similarities of a charismatic kind in which the leaders influence the followers with their exceptional personality. A charismatic leader adopts more flexible and democratic approaches than a transactional leader. As such, he gains the sincere cooperation of the followers in the organizational activities. Managing a sports team is more feasible when the leadership is charismatic and transformational in nature; however, the role of transactional rewarding system is important for drawing better performance from individuals on a short-term, game wise effect.

References

Cardona, P & Rey, C. (2008). Mission driven leadership: Ho to develop leadership throughout the organization. Occasional Paper. IESE Business School. Retrieved from http://www.iese.edu/research/pdfs/OP-08-04-E.pdf
Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama: Back to School Event. (September 8, 2009). The White House. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/MediaResources/PreparedSchoolRemarks/
Strategy, Structure and Organisational Culture. (n.d.). Animal Protection Society Management. Retrieved from http://worldanimal.net/documents/2_Strategy.pdf
Vincer, D & Loughead, T. M. (2010). The Relationship Among Athlete Leadership Behaviors and Cohesion in Team Sports. The Sport Psychologist, 24, 448-467.
Weiss, J. W. (2011). An Introduction to Leadership. Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

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