Leading by Example
Blog: From the Director
Posted Friday, March 4, 2011

A few weeks ago I asked the MHSAA Student Advisory Council to help me prepare for a presentation at a leadership program for students of a league in southeast Michigan.  I asked the SAC members what qualities they looked for in a team leader.  They listed 13.  In alphabetical order, they were:

  •  Being a good citizen.
  •  Being compassionate.
  •  Being competitive.
  •  Being confident
  •  Being encouraging/motivating.
  •  Being hard-working.
  •  Being honest/trustworthy.
  •  Being humble/modest.
  •  Being a good listener.
  •  Being a mediator.
  •  Being a skilled athlete.
  •  Being a quick thinker.
  •  Being vocal/loud.

Then I asked the SAC members to vote on the relative importance of the 13.  Each member was allowed two votes, and each could split his/her vote, or put both votes on a single trait.

  • Do you know how many votes being vocal or loud received?  Zero.
  • Being a skilled athlete?  Only a few votes.

What got the most votes, by a wide margin, were being competitive and being hard-working.  It is being a hard-working competitor that leads people.  That could be, but isn’t necessarily, the best athlete.  The more essential qualities of a team leader are not physical – not being the biggest, fastest or best athlete.  The essential qualities are more intangible; and they are attainable for all athletes, regardless of their size or athletic ability.  It’s leading by example.

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