A leader does not aim for the members of his group to be subordinated who comply
his orders automatically, without being discussed. If a leader aspires to that, he would be no more than a formal leader with whom he ends his influence where his presence and power ends. A leader with a true leadership vocation does not want subordinates or collaborators, but followers who believe in him. A leader can use many and varied techniques to achieve the goal that has been proposed; the leadership style may vary depending on the circumstances and situations.
The army Varsity coach at West Point gathered his eight best rowers to be part of the first crew team and a junior level of rowers in the second team. This decision was based on qualitative data obtained from individual performance. The second team repeatedly beat the first team, which has a challenge in one week that will be the National Championship race.
Leadership in sport
In sports groups, as in any type of group, there are leaders. In a soccer or a basketball team, for example, the figure of the team captain is always a point of interest to understand the dynamics of the group. There are more skilled players than others, more respected and more loved. In the sports teams, in addition to the figure of the captain, there are other players considered by their peers as very influential, and who played the role of leader in function of the situation. Regardless of his captain status, a basketball player of the caliber of Michael Jordan became a leader who successfully solved almost impossible moves that led the team to victory. Everyone knew what his role was and how they should help their leader achieve the goal. The qualities of a coach must be different depending on the sport which is specialist, is whether it is individual sport or is a team sport. But regardless of the type of sport, the figure of the coach is very important to make the team or player to maximize their chances to get the victory. The coach must act as a true leader for his team and his players. There is nothing more tangible than verifying the differences of the game that the teams have from one year to the next, not only by the signing of new players but mainly by the game strategy implemented by the new coach. (Jr., F. J., 2013)
Leadership is an essential part of the group structure. It is determinant in the effectiveness that reaches the group. The coach, if he manages to become the team leader, should be considered a formal leader, since he has been chosen by the organization or club, and not as an informal leader that emerges spontaneously as a result of the interaction and communication that It takes place among the members of the Group.
When a team coach manages to meet the needs and aspirations of their players and get the team to win victories, in this case, is considered an effective leader. In a sports team, the existence of a leader is essential since it provides an improvement in performance, higher stability, higher commitment and motivation in the group. A leader must be able to educate, instruct and direct all the individuals that integrate the group. That can motivate, communicate, convince and get the commitment of all its members to achieve the common goal. (Janine Popick, 2014) Leadership in sports is the ability of a coach or player to have a positive influence on the group.
The context of army crew team
The case reveals the frustrating and disconcerting performance of the Varsity boat’s performance at Westpoint military academy. In front of successive instances of competition between the Varsity team that is integrated by the eight rowers with the best performance in terms of speed, strength and coordination, selected based on the data obtained by their individual performances and the Junior Varsity team, also called second team composed of rowers who obtained lower grades in their individual performances. The competitions carried out as a training for the preparation of the national competition, leave as a result that the second Junior Varsity team triumphs repeatedly. The situation perplexed the coach Stas Preczewski, who tries by different ways to seek an explanation of what has been happening in the scenario of being a week before until the national competition. (Scott A. Snook ; Jeffrey T. Polzer, 2003)
The coaches set their selection process based on four specific aspects that are basically what was required of a combination of individual skills and team coordination:
Strength and physical preparation
Organization of the program
The evaluation of these four categories will help achieve the maximum performance of the rowing team.
A successful career requires a combination of individual skills and team coordination. Experienced coaches consider psychological variables as the main ingredient of winning crews. In the second team, the Junior Varsity had the motto “nothing to lose”, while in the first team of the Varsity constantly changed the slogan, lacked something to define them. (Scott A. Snook ; Jeffrey T. Polzer, 2003)
The first team of army crew Varsity despite having the best elements compared with man to man does not manage to be a winning team. There is disunity in the team. They are unmotivated. There is an antagonism in the members of the Varsity boat. For his part, the coach, out of the river, was in charge of selecting the members of the boat, who trained them and made them join in the desire to reach the goal, which explained the power of the competitors; but this, in turn, had to rely on the help of specialists such as physical trainers, dieticians, sports doctors and even psychologists.
There are several important aspects that should be improved:
The team will not succeed if they do not comply with the helmsman’s instructions.
The members of the team must know each other well and have total confidence to do each part of the work that corresponds to them.
They must all have a common commitment to achieving the goal.
In the boat and during the race, the helmsman is given leadership, which indicates the direction of the goal and of the other competitors; and the captain or the first rower indicating the rhythm of the paddling.
Identify and evaluate the behavior of the members that integrate the work team.
Identification of the aspects to form the rowing team.
Analyze the evaluations that are carried out to identify team leaders.
Analyze the attitudes and decisions made by the team coach.
Every organization requires to have successful leaders who lead, in addition to teamwork, communication, motivation, search for a goal.
Organizations are complex and for their success require: (Ivancevich, 2017)
A clear vision of the mission and the scene where they will act.
Commitment to the objective
Distribution of functions or tasks
Confidence in the work team
Work planning and execution
Efficient communication during all stages of preparation, and execution
Training and preparation
The first Varsity team was demoralized and tired to see that a team with lower physical conditions, won. At the end of each practice and race against the second team, the first Varsity team focused on providing feedback individually to each member, unlike the second team that did it in a group manner.
The sport of rowing is complex and leads to the need for integrating the movement of the boat, the oars, and the body.
The importance of implementing group feedback in the first team:
The sense of belonging increases: belonging becomes closer after the mutual disposition to welcome and be welcomed. When the coach allows each member to participate actively in the results obtained, it is creating a climate of belonging and commitment.
Improve performance: The experiences of companies that apply feedback as a daily practice show a marked increase in the productivity of their workers.
Increase the strengths of each member: The exchange of ideas, positions, and appreciations usually lead to the discovery of new skills and abilities in each member. If the coach knows how to manage this element, they will have in their favor talents that can improve their performance in the short term. On the other hand, the members of the team will increase their self-esteem and be more confident in the performance of their tasks.
Narrow the relationship between the coach and the crew members: When the feedback is made the main effect that is noticed is an improvement in the relationship between the leader and the team member, even if the feedback is negative.
Define strategies and methods of action: The coach’s concern is evident. Feedback with his team can be a useful tool for decision making. It is likely that the members themselves, because of their closeness to situations, are the most appropriate to express their opinion on a specific issue. In those cases, the role of the leader is to listen to their contributions and suggestions.
The best teams are those that not only combine the skills of their members successfully to meet the demands of their task, but also energize team members through the union that comes with the effort towards a common goal. (Employee motivation, 2011)
Teamwork involves working in cooperation with others in a coordinated, harmonious and focused manner, taking advantage of each one’s strengths and focusing on these strengths in favor of the group through synergy. Good teamwork does not generate independent achievements, competitive environments or internal rivalries; rather it guarantees a general achievement.