The Key to Leadership

At some point in your life your parents probably said something to you that started like this: “There are two types of people in this world, leaders and followers….”. The statement was meant to encourage you to lead and to strive to be the one in charge. It also implied that there were as many followers as leaders, if not more. In addition, it implied that you had to be one or the other. In reality, you can be both a leader and a follower. Also, as a leader, there are many different types of strategies that you can use.

In my experience, there are two main types of leadership and they can be shown through how two different famous basketball coaches respond to failure. The first coach is IU coach Tom Crean. Crean is known for being very demonstrative both with his players and the referees. He shows an incredible amount of outward emotion and at times can be guilty of showing up his own players. This is an example of a very aggressive style of leadership. Players play and practice even harder then they normally do in order to gain positive praise from their coaches and to avoid the negative berating. This can be controversial in a locker room or a workplace if it feels like the boss or coach is just attacking the players and employees but that wasn’t the case with Crean. Crean defends his players against the media, referees, among others and has brought the IU program back from the dead. An aggressive style of leadership can be very effective if it does not go to far and is used correctly. The other side of the spectrum can be shown through the San Antonio Spurs legendary coach Greg Popovich. He has, very rarely, any outward displays of emotion, never shows up his players, and stays very even keeled throughout games and interviews. This is an example of an almost passive style of leadership. The key to this style of leadership is to have already earned the respect of your players or employees. A situation that shows this is if Popovich subs a player out of the game, he either has to quietly say a couple of words to the player or even nothing at all and the player will immediately know what he did wrong.

So which is the “right” style of leadership? The answer is a complicated one that basically boils down to it depends on what situation the leader is in. Each employee responds to a different type of leadership and guidance. Some employees, including myself, thrive in a situation where the leader is very vocal towards me and is not afraid to say what I did wrong in front of other employees. Speaking for myself, this absolutely motivates me to do better because I take it as a challenge instead of being embarrassed. On the flip side, other employees thrive in a situation where the boss pulls them aside when they do something wrong and quietly tells them when they make a mistake. This is one of the keys to leadership, being able to switch from one type to another based on whom you are talking too.

A great opportunity to learn more about this concept and the other keys to leadership is at the “Will you be ready? Tomorrow’s Leader” workshop that is being put on by the School of Public Health in SPH 125, from 6:00-7:30 pm on Wednesday, November 16th. Leadership is a concept that is learned and to be that CEO of the next big company, it’s a pretty important quality to have.

The Key to Leadership photo

Dustin is a sophomore undergraduate student who is majoring in Sport Marketing and Management as well as Economics and aspires to work in baseball operations. You will most likely find him watching a sporting event .

By Dustin Sleet
Dustin Sleet Blogger