It should come to no surprise I love movies about sports and teams. One of my favorite of all time is Remember the Titans, which is based on a true story. If you have not seen it, you need to stop reading this and put it on your “To Watch List” right now. One of my favorite lines of all time came from this movie. When star players Gerry Battier and Julius Campbell get into an argument, Campbell ends the discussion with, “Attitude reflects leadership, Captain.”
I have no idea if that line was said in real life. I am going to believe it was. I am going to believe that Campbell was wise beyond his years. Regardless, the meaning of the statement is true. I see this all the time in sports. Players tend to take on their coach’s personality, work ethic, and attitude. This is part of the reason recruits choose the colleges they do. They relate to the head coach in some form or fashion. It has also been called the waterfall effect. Everything starts with the head coach, trickles down to the assistants and on to the players.
Players and assistant coaches often take on the characteristics of their head coach. One of those being their attitude. Let’s take a game situation as an example. If your team was up 15 points and the opposing team has made a comeback to come within two points with 30 seconds remaining in the game. The head coach takes a timeout to regroup the team. If the head coach takes on the attitude of being in control and has confidence to win the game, the players will see that and have the same type of attitude heading back into the game after the timeout. However, if there is any doubt from the head coach, the players will pick up on that. If they see their leader isn’t giving them the type of leadership they need in a crucial game situation, how are they supposed to have the correct mindset going back in the game?
Athletes have the same effect as well. Every team has their leaders. Some of them are silent leaders. The ones who lead by example. Those athletes are the ones who are always doing the extra workouts, going to the training room to get treatment and eating the right things to fuel their body properly. These leaders do not have to say much because their actions do the talking. There are others who are vocal leaders. These athletes are the ones who are constantly talking to their teammates, encouraging their teammates through the tough times and being honest with them, even when they may not want to hear it. It is not always easy to be a leader among your peers, especially for a high school or college athlete who is so young. Leaders on a team are not always the most popular ones because what they choose to do is right, not necessarily fun or exciting. No matter what type of leadership an athlete has, good or bad, their teammates attitude will reflect that.
If you are not in a leadership position, but have the desire to be, you can ask yourself a few questions. Is what you are doing a reflection of the program or company you are with in a positive way? What extra could you be doing that would encourage others to better themselves? Are you producing in a way that others would want to look to you as a leader? Is your attitude a good reflection of yourself? Take an honest look at these and see how you could improve in order to become the leader that you want to be.
If you are in a position of leadership, take a step back and see what the attitude vibe is with your team. Is it what you want? Do you feel that your team is a direct reflection of you? Are they producing the way that you want them to? If they aren’t, what is it that you can change to help the situation? Regardless of what the answers are to these questions, the attitude of the team is a reflection of the leadership. It is up to the leader to make it the right one.