4 Types of Leaders in the Workplace and the Football Field


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Over the course of my many years developing as a leader, I’ve actively studied and evaluated leadership styles in the workplace. I’ve also been a passionate football fanatic ever since tailgating my way through college in the south. Through these experiences, I’ve noticed a similarity between leadership in the workplace and leadership on the football field. Here are 4 types of leaders I see in the workplace and the football field.

  • A PICK UP GAME leader is likable among peers and has no higher-level authority. On the football field, this leader is often the captain, may orchestrate the pick up game itself and often chooses his/her team. In the workplace, this leader serves as an example for the team. This leader excels in execution, often has multiple peers and the boss often complements this leader. This leadership style works well if you have no higher-level authority – perhaps you’re a frontline employee or on a management team with multiple peers reporting to the same person. Avoid this style with your direct reports.
  • A HOMECOMING leader rallies a team against a common enemy. In football, the enemy is often a the other team for a key game. In business, the team will face a certain (usually short) battle against another department, a competitor or a challenging task. Examples include: make fewer mistakes than the other department, have a faster turnaround time than our competitor or get old files archived by the end of the week. This leadership type forces the team to win or lose. If you’re leading a team with a lot of turnover or with short-term and imminent goals, this may be the style for you.
  • An ALL-STAR leader rallies their team behind them.The All-Star leader is likeable and the team is usually willing to move mountains without asking questions. For football players, its the star player on the team who rallies everyone else to help him or her shine. The same is true in business. The All-Star leader rallies everyone to make himself or herself be the star. This leader style is effective. People want to be led. But it has its shortcomings: the team is usually not empowered or fully leveraged. As a leader entering a new situation, be extremely cautious accepting a new position where an All-Star leader was in place before. Motivating teams who are wired to follow someone else is an uphill battle.
  • A CHAMPIONSHIP leader rallies the team behind achieving a larger common goal: be it the Orange Bowl or exceeding the profit goal by 10%. This leader type empowers and motivates the team to solve the needs of the team rather than the needs of the leader. If you have a highly capable team with resources as an executive, this is the style for you. Avoid knee-jerk reactions to solve problems for your team. Support their efforts but don’t do it for them.

Knowing the types of leaders that exist in a workplace is helpful as you can determine what time of leader you want to be. You’ll likely find you’ve been (or will be) classified as all four styles at some point in your career. Play around with the styles. Find which style works for scenarios you encounter.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ryan McKeever
Ryan McKeever is Head of Marketing at Aveus, a global strategy and operational change firm. Ryan holds a plethora of perspectives including: corporate marketer, advertising agency professional and small business owner.


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