Effective leaders manage the majority of successful organizations or teams, athletic or otherwise. A leader may be an expert, a supervisor, a respected person, someone who controls aversive power or someone that has the capacity to dispense rewards (Ryan, 1982). A leader may possess have one or more of these characteristics, depending on the individual.
In addition to leadership characteristics, leaders may also differ in their leadership styles (p. 32). For example, a directive or possessive style of leadership means that the leader takes complete charge of the team, closely monitoring athlete behavior and performance. A permissive style of coach may leave much of the responsibility to the athletes and spend more time on the critical issues.
Chelladurai (1993) proposed a normative model of decision styles (autocratic, participative, and delegating) in coaching (Butler, 1996). A casual observer of the dynamics on a typical competitive sport team would conclude that coaches make all decisions and take all of the blame for failure. Athletes on the other hand, like to concentrate on their responsibilities as players and prefer not to be involved in coaching.
The concept of leadership has gained a large amount of attention in recent years, as sports have increased in popularity and researchers have placed an emphasis on determining the relationship between leaders, teams and performance.
Multidimensional Model of Sport Leadership
According to the Multidimensional Model of Sport Leadership, optimal performance & satisfaction are achieved when leader's required, preferred & actual behaviors are consistent. The model holds that effective leadership varies depending on the specific situation, leader and team (Chelladurai, 2001, p. 194-197)
The model introduces three key terms:
Required leader behavior-- behaviors demanded by the situation (goals, norms, values, etc.).
Preferred leader behavior-- leader behaviors preferred by group, organization, etc.
Actual leader behavior-- behaviors the leader exhibits.
As a direct consequence of leadership, three things are affected:
Satisfaction -- When coaching style and behaviors match the preferences of the athlete, greater satisfaction is the result.
Cohesion -- A democratic style, social support and positive feedback all result in greater cohesion.
Performance - Greater social support results in poorer performing teams.
As a result of Chelladurai's research, many studies have been conducted to try to develop or expand the knowledge of the topic.
One such study analyzed the differences between the offensive and defensive personnel of sports teams in preferred leadership, perceived leadership, and satisfaction with leadership, as well as the relationships among preferred and perceived leadership, their congruence, and satisfaction with leadership (Chelladurai, 1995). The results of this study showed that defensive players preferred more democratic behavior, autocratic behavior, and social support than offensive players.
In addition, the similarity between preferred and perceived leadership in the measurement of social support was important in enhancing member satisfaction. On the other hand, perceived leadership in training and instruction, in addition to positive feedback, were more important factors of satisfaction with leadership than either the preferred leadership or the congruence of preferred and perceived leadership in these dimensions.
Another study researched the preferred coaching behaviors of athletes from distinct sporting contexts. These contexts included single-gender male, single-gender female, dual-gender male and female. The project's findings were significant to the Multidimensional Model of Sports Leadership. The coaching preferences of the athletes were found by using the Chelladurai's Leadership Scale for Sport.
Due to the fact that many previous studies that used the scale reported several gender-based inconsistencies, comparisons between athletes' preference scores were studied on this variable. Despite some minor differences between the groups of athletes, the results showed a high level of similarity in the coaching preferences between all of the athletes, regardless of gender.
Athletes from all three sports contexts cited positive feedback, training and instruction and democratic behavior as preferred coaching behaviors. In addition, all athletes reported that social support and autocratic behavior were not preferred coaching behaviors. This study revealed that athletes playing in some single-gender sporting environments share similar preferences for coaching behavior to athletes participating in sports of a dual-gender nature.
Another study showed that if there are unique socialization processes occurring in two distinct sporting environments, they have only minimal effects on the coaching preferences of the athletes (Gardner, 1998, p. 111). This study challenged the number of athlete characteristics claimed by Chelladurai to determine preferred coaching behavior.
An additional study examined the relationship between coach "burnout," coaching behaviors, and athletes' psychological responses using Chelladurai's Multidimensional Model of Sports Leadership as a framework for theory (Price, 2000). Two questions were addressed in this study:
Do coaches who have various levels of burnout differ in the behaviors athletes perceive that they show?
Do coaching behaviors have an effect on athletes' enjoyment, perceived competence, anxiety, and burnout?
The results of this study revealed that coaches who had higher levels of emotional exhaustion were viewed by their teams as providing less training and instruction and social support and making fewer autocratic and more democratic decisions. For the second question, the athletes' perceptions of greater training and instruction, social support, positive feedback, democratic decisions, and less autocratic style were related to more positive less negative psychological outcomes.
Application of Topic To Athletic Trainer
Recently, a lot of attention has been directed at the role of athletes as role models and leaders. The media has made this topic a huge part of the American dialogue and cultural awareness (Butler, p. 46). Athletes are seen as very successful achievers that should be role models to children and to the country.
Therefore, the media attacks athletes when they make mistakes, even though mistakes are part of human nature. As a result, athletes are hesitant to assume the role of a leader. For example, Charles Barkley recently stated, "I am not a role model!" (p. 52) This raises the question of whether or not athletes view themselves as leaders or role models.
Chelladurai's research proposed the Multidimensional Model of Leadership, in which the characteristics of the leader and group members interact with situational factors, like the athletic program philosophy. Therefore, the specific characteristics of an effective leader are hypothesized to differ as a function of context. Thus, the sport leader characteristics that are the most effective for male basketball players may be different than the characteristics of effective leaders on a women's swim team.
A leader is one of the most important aspects of an organization. The major task of an athletic trainer is to get employees to perform their best. An athletic trainer, such as a coach, must complete successfully implement training schedules, and provide competing athletes with the skills needed to target the training objects. In addition, to handle a team, a leader must act as a friend, consultant, manager, psychologist, and funds collector of athletes.
Many times, a leader has a strong influence on athletes' behavior and serves as a model for imitating. Research shows that a coach should be demanding, well organized, have positive behavior patterns and are highly achieved in the sport field (Ogilvie&Tutko, 1966, Sage, 1973).
The Multidimensional Model is used to determine interaction between a coach and athlete in a given situation. The model shows that the leadership of coaches is directly correlated to the achievement and personality of athletes. In addition, leadership for athletes in different levels and sex is related.
For example, female athletes pay more attention to social support than male athletes do. At the same time, athletes who participate in touchable sport training prefer democratic behavior than athletes who participate in non-touchable sport training. Therefore, coaches must devote themselves to their team to produce positive feedback, and strengthen the fighting force.
Basically, the leadership of coaches relates to the performance of the games and athletes, training programmers, performance of the whole group, and so on. Recently, research related to the Multidimensional Model focuses on the…