Dec 28

The Power of Transformative Leadership

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Ever wonder about the state of excellent leadership skills nowadays, as it seem to be getting more and more scarce? Actually, the current state of affairs is discouraging, dispiriting, and almost depressing – at least for me!

Leadership means different things to different people around the world, as well as different things in different situations. It can bring to mind a variety of images: relating to community, religion, or politics; and in our case, to sport organization in general or national coaches, who have demonstrated lack of moral character and ethical behaviour?
Doesn’t society keep perpetuating the myth ‘sports builds character?’

In the past years several International bodies were or are involved in:

  • Corruption: FIFA/soccer
  • Lacking long-term vision on rule changes: FINA/swimming as top swimmers challenge FINA with lawsuit
  • National governing bodies such as the US Gymnastics Federation and horrendous sexual abuse of female athletes having to file for bankruptcy
  • Canadian National Director of women’s gymnastics presently in court, accused of inappropriate behaviour from 2000-2007 (Sarnia, Ontario, reported December 14, 2018)
  • Alpine Canada facing suit for failing to protect female athletes from sexual, physical, and psychological abuse
  • Hazing scandals during 2002-2003 in Canadian Junior Hockey in Sarnia, Ontario, whereby the coach apparently was also involved spanking the naked buttocks of a new player, and senior players urinated on newcomers (reported December 13, 2018)

The words “leader” and “leadership” are often used incorrectly to describe people who are actually managing. These individuals may be highly skilled, good at their jobs, and valuable to their organizations – but that just makes them excellent managers, not leaders. We need to be careful using these terms and avoid assuming that people with “leader” in their job titles, people who describe themselves as “leaders,” or even groups called “leadership teams” are  actually in roles of leadership. A particular danger in these situations is that people or organizations that are managed by such an individual or group think they’re being led, but they’re not. There may actually be no leadership at all, with no one setting a vision and no one being inspired. This can cause serious problems in the long term.

Leaders help themselves and others to do the right things. They set direction, build an inspiring vision, and create something new. Leadership is about mapping out where one needs to go to ‘win’ as a team or an organization. It is dynamic, exciting, and inspiring. Yet, while leaders set the direction, they must also use management skills to guide their people to the right destination in a smooth and efficient way. The process is referred to as Transformational leadership, defined as a leadership approach that causes change in individuals and social systems. In its ideal form, it creates valuable and positive change in the followers with the end goal of developing followers into leaders.

According to the idea of transformational leadership, an effective leader is a person who does the following:

Basic Elements of Transformational Leadership
  • Idealized Influence. Transformational leaders act as role models and followers seek to emulate their behaviour
  • Creates an inspiring vision of the future
  • Inspirational motivation
  • Motivates and inspires people to engage with that vision
  • Intellectual stimulation
  • Manages delivery of the vision
  • Individualized consideration
  • Coaches and builds a team so that it is more effective at achieving the vision
Seven Transformational Leadership Qualities
  • A clear vision: Transformational leaders have a vision of what they want to achieve and the ability to clearly communicate this vision so that everyone in the organization/parents/athletes understands what is needed to achieve this vision. …
  • Courage
  • Self-motivation
  • Inspiration
  • Know your people
  • Set a company standard
  • Follow through

The impact of transformational leadership reaches every level of an organization. At the team level, you can find members that care, stimulate, inspire and motivate each other. Upper-level transformational leaders set an organization’s direction and vision, influencing the way the lower levels of an organization operate. Excellent leadership brings together the skills needed to do these things.

Foremost, courage is needed, as it is an important trait for change agents. Being ‘competently courageous’ can create the right conditions for action, whether the goal is to implement a new team selection process, or deal with team management issues. The key to success is a set of attitudes and behaviours that include building a ‘good’ reputation’, becoming a master of good timing, choosing one’s battles, and following-up.

To You ALL!


Associated Press (2018, December 5). USA Gymnastics files for bankruptcy in wake of Larry Nassar scandal. Retrieved December 14, from: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/dec/05/usa-gymnastics-files-for-bankruptcy-in- wake-of-larry-nassar-scandal

Barnes, D. (2018, December 13). Alpine Canada faces suit from three former skiers. Officials allege to have known about coach’s abuse but failed to protect athletes. The Calgary Herald, A6.

Conn, D. (2017, November 6). How the FBI won ‘the World Cup of fraud’ as FIFA scandal arrives in court. The Observer. Retrieved December 14, from: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/ nov/06/fifa-scandal-fbi-new-york-trial-chuck-blazer-sepp-blatter

Malone, M. (2018, December, 13). Ex-Sting coach should step away from hockey amid allegations, Carcillo says. The Calgary Herald, B9.

Reuters (2018, December 9). Top swimmers challenge FINA with lawsuit. Retrieved December 14, from: https://www.euronews.com/2018/12/09/top-swimmers-challenge-fina-with-lawsuit

Thompson, N. (2018, December 14). Coach denies naps with gymnast. The Calgary Herald, NP7.

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