How to Become a Better Leader
Being a leader is not an easy thing to do. I believe that leaders are born, not made, but we all have potential to lead. It is when we try to lead as others lead that some of us get into trouble. Here are 4 ways that you might be able to bring that leadership potential to fruition.
  1. Be yourself.

    You are who you are and anything else is a lie. People can see right through lies. Be happy with who you are and believe that be what is necessary to gain the faith of those who need to follow you. If you speak in someone else's voice or actions, you surely will push them away.

  2. Leadership is a lifestyle.

    Hypocrisy and leadership do not mix. The days of "do as I say, not as I do" are gone. In today's technologically advanced and "YouTube" world, people know what you are doing. You don't need to be a perfect person, just a responsible one. Stand up for what you do and say. Take responsibility for your actions and try to make them positive. Live your beliefs.

  3. Be a communicator.

    Find ways to interact. The image of a "quiet leader" or one who "leads with actions, not with words" are fallacies. A leader, by definition, is in front. You cannot lead if others don't see. You don't have to be a yeller or a screamer to be a leader, but you can't be a shrinking violet either. You have to be able to take the ups and downs, the good and bad of leadership. Things don't always go well for you or others. Let others know you are with them in good times and bad. Be consistent in your treatment of others. Let them know you care.

  4. Allow others to follow.

    Everything in life is volitional. People make choices based on what is best for them. Nobody buys into anything because you want them to. Do and say the things that you believe in. The ones that believe the same way will follow you. Those that don't, won't. There is nothing you can do about that. Just keep doing what you believe in. It is important to understand that, more than anything else, the things that makes the best leader is good followers.

What do you think? Do you have other ways to improve leadership? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...

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Paolonecoach says:
6/3/2010 at 5:24:48 AM

I think a good leader should understand what the group want and that he should seek the way most appropriate for the group to reach the ''goal. So the group will understand that the leader is the right person and follow him.


BC says:
6/3/2010 at 6:38:38 AM

Within my experiences i have noticed the following:
1. Coaches need to be able to back up their words by actually being involved in the drills they preach, this helps the player to see that it is possible for the drill to be achieved and gives credibility as the coach can do the drills.
2. Leaders (namely coaches) need to have a structure when coaching and it needs to be communicated to the players. This enables the player to know what is going on and challenge themselves and the rest of the team to improve.
3. Communication is key for coaches as you need to talk TO the players not at them. I mean that the players need to understand why certain drills are done.
4. You need to have faith in the players, this enables them to believe that they can do it.


DL says:
6/3/2010 at 8:27:45 AM

Good little article, however I believe the opposite, and if you ever get the chance to visit West Point Military Academy, this is one of their mottos. Leaders are made not born, I agree most people have some characteristics that show leadership, some more than others, but someone has to teach you how to lead, there is a right and a wrong way. For example our team captains should be leaders on and off the floor, but as coaches we have to mentor and teach them every year what it means, how to act, and how to facilitate and gain respect of your team. In fact we have a specific event to help build leadership skills every summer for our captains.


Judge Al says:
6/3/2010 at 9:00:46 AM

Your article is very "real world" correct with respect to leaders being born, but as revealed in one or two of the responses, a concept difficult to accept for some. While you can attempt to teach leadership skills, learning how to apply them effectively is the difference between educated "West Point grads" and those precious few "born to lead". The main reason military "leaders" appear effective is the punitive consequence for not "following". Real leaders do not impose punishment for not following orders, nor do they need a big stick with which to lead.


6/3/2010 at 12:41:32 PM



Coach Chris says:
6/3/2010 at 5:53:07 PM

Your advice on leadership is greatly valued and needed in today's game. Please keep promoting this topic on your site.

Wisdom from Lou Holtz:
People (players) ask the same three questions about every individual:
1. Can I trust you?
2. Are you here for me or am I here for you?
3. Are you committed to excellence?

Coaches need to understand that each player is asking these same three questions. and each are asking from their individual perspectives. The coach that has the most positive answers to these questions will have the most success.


KEN says:
6/4/2010 at 4:53:57 PM

As usual Don's thoughts are timely and I appreciate them.
I see leaders in soccer and basketball that don't realize their influence. I encourage them to use their gift by showing a strong work ethic and never giving up.


Joe Haefner says:
6/6/2010 at 11:12:30 AM

Coaches, we appreciate the great thoughts & ideas!


ariel rabe says:
6/18/2010 at 4:02:00 AM

For me the one who leads is the one who builds. He is a builder. In our "no to smoking" advocacy through our free basketball clinics for kids, leadership is one part of the whole which we call "buildership." Thank you for this opportunity to share our views on leadership.


john says:
11/16/2010 at 11:05:28 PM

One thing I have started telling my youth team (five and six year olds) at the beginning of our practices:

"You will be a better player and a better teammate after tonight''s practice."


Professional Sports Fan says:
12/22/2010 at 12:48:30 AM

The 6 essential factors which are required for an effective youth coaching philosophy are; parents, coaches, excitement, selection, time, and success windows.


Robert Bevsek says:
7/31/2014 at 11:33:29 AM

I totally agree with the guidelines here. Being consistent in who you are provides self trust. I think good followers and other leaders gravitate to leaders who trust themselves; it's the foundation for a team/community bounded in honesty. It reminds me of a habit Abraham Lincoln deemed as an upmost important quality for a leader to have. Once you make a decision, don't ever change your mind or waiver at all. Thus, even when the outcome proves otherwise, the disciplinary strength and consistency will avail the certainty that negative habits like indecision are not tolerated. People invested in the greater good notice such things. Then of course, admitting fault should be the next course in action; obviously suggesting that the team will learn from your mistake. I also make it a point to apologize to anyone whose ideas were left out in the decision making process but proven to be right in the end(Should be done in front of the team and 1on 1).


Philipp says:
12/31/2018 at 7:58:05 AM

A good leader is one, whom people follow, even (and especially) when they don''t have to

It''s very tough to get there...


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