"Being perfect isn't the mark of a leader. Learning and growing is."
Inevitably, on each team, there are certain people who get branded as the team leader(s). This may occur through appointing captains, or may occur naturally within the team with no official title being handed out. When we think of leaders we tend to think of someone who is in charge, who makes decisions, and often time speaks on behalf of the team. However, there are multiple ways to showcase leadership on your team beyond the traditional ways that most people think of.
Being vocal on the field is a great way to be a leader and take charge of the game. Softball is so reliant on communication. Without it, a highly talented team will never reach a high level of play. It’s crucial to use your voice and speak up. This includes relaying cut information, reminding the field where the play is, encouraging teammates, and everything in between. Don’t be scared to use your voice. Your team needs it.
Don’t speak negativity into your team. It in no way benefits or helps anyone. Instead, it breeds more negativity and problems. Always speak positively, about your program, coaches, teammates, and even yourself. Be a light that others can look to when they feel dim.
As a player and a coach, I have always admired the girls who showed up day in and day out and gave 100%. Come early, stay late, take extra reps, run as hard as you can. Do everything in your power to better yourself for your team. People will take notice and follow in your example.
Listen, always. Listen to understand and not to respond. Listen when your coaches are speaking and make sure they know you are listening. This includes eye contact, head nodding, and appropriate expressions. Listen when your teammates confide in you. Guide them when they need your help. And always be there for them when they call on you.
Do the right thing
Make sure that you always set the example. Volunteer for fund raising or jobs/tasks that are less than desirable. Complete all your reps even if no one is watching. Don’t talk bad about your teammates or coaches. Carry equipment. Pick up trash in the dugout. There won’t always be eyes on you but make sure you are in the habit of doing what is right.
Be a leader by being there when people need you – even if they don’t ask. Shag balls for people taking extra cuts. Load the tee for the them. Volunteer to catch up a pitcher looking to improve her curve. Answer questions about homework. Proof read a teammates paper. Whatever it is they need…be the person they can count on.
Keep your head up
Arguably one of the hardest things to do is stay positive when your down. It's always been the thing I've struggled with the most. We want to sulk and pout and cry because things aren’t going our way. We struck out. We made an error. Being upset and emotional is a human reaction. But people are looking at you. And if you can keep your composure and carry on like nothing is wrong, people will admire and respect you for it.
Be a team player
Always put your team first. Know and accept your role. Each person plays a pivitol role in team success. Whether you're getting the glory on the mound or your pumping up your team from the dugout. Both jobs are important. Know that. Do your job, whatever it may be, to the best of your ability and do it with pride.
Being a leader doesn’t always look one certain way. Leadership isn’t black or white and sometimes we may stumble as leaders. Sometimes we don’t make the right choices or say the right thing. It’s okay. It happens. Being perfect isn't the mark of a leader. Learning and growing is. Whatever it is your doing in life, whether it's sport, work, church, or anything else, find at least one way to exhibit leadership.
Tell me how you lead in the comments below.