Supporting Canadian Athletes

Athlete Leadership

Some people seem to be “born leaders”. They are dynamic, have a vision for the future and have an idea of how to get there. They also seem to have the ability to take people with them. In reality, the skills necessary to listen with empathy, to think strategically, to speak with conviction, to verbalize a preferred future and then articulate the steps to be taken are all things that can be learned.

As an Athlete Leader and/or Representative for your sport, you have an opportunity to be a leader for a critical group (high performance athletes) within your national sport organization. By virtue of your position as an Athlete Representative, there is an expectation from other athletes that you will represent their needs, protect their interests and keep them informed about what they need to know. As an Athlete Representative who sits on the Board of Directors or on a Standing Committee, there is also an expectation from your NSO that you will have some knowledge about necessary aspects of the organization and that you can see the big picture of the organization’s business.

Being a leader is not about “being in charge”. It is the ability to influence, to be visionary and to communicate that vision to others.  Decide what is important to you. Use these beliefs and values to guide your actions with others and to help you decide what changes you want to make.

Your leadership “style” will develop as you implement effective practices and ways to communicate. While leadership traits and behaviours are important, ultimately your leadership style will be situational. Different ways of dealing with people will work in different situations. Remember to be purposeful and respectful. You are not at the decision-making tables to destroy but to build and effect positive change.

This section includes information on leadership styles, power, managing change and other relevant skills and knowledge for being an effective athlete leader.


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