Leadership in any organizational setting is very important because of the need to have a common goal and approach to achieving a given set of objectives. Leaders in small teams in sports and in businesses face similar challenges that they must overcome to ensure that they achieve the desired success. The challenge may be lack of commitment and support from the team members, varying opinions on how different tasks should be handled, lack of respect and love from the team members, among a host of other problems. As a leader, it is necessary to have unique traits that can make it possible to overcome these challenges. A good leader must be in a position to identify the sources of these challenges and find how best they can be addressed in order to achieve the best outcome. In this paper, the researcher seeks to find the best ways through which a leader can overcome organizational challenges in order to achieve success in small teams.
Heifetz, R 2008, Business leadership: A Jossey-Bass reader, Jossey-Bass Inc, San Francisco.
This book focused on how to make small businesses work through effective leadership. The success of business entities largely rely on how effective their leaders are in management. As a leader, one must understand the concept of managing a business and how the traits exhibited may affect the progress made. It is common to find a situation where a manager fails to exhibit qualities of a good leader in running a business. As a manager, one may be tempted to issue instructions and expect the junior officers to follow them without questioning. However, that should not be the trait of a good leader. Leaders often give examples of what should be done and work alongside the junior officers towards achieving a common goal. They consider themselves part of the organisational workforce and know when to delegate duties in the most appropriate manner. This research is very useful in guiding entrepreneurs who are struggling to make their small businesses successful. Its main limitation is lack of emphasis on modern leadership theories.
Muna, F & Zennie, A 2011, Developing multicultural leaders: The journey to leadership success, Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
The book focused on how one can become a successful leader in a multicultural context. The aim of every leader is to motivate and lead his or her team towards success in whichever field they are operating in at any given time. However, leaders who find themselves working in a multicultural context often face a number of challenges that may disorient them from achieving their primary objectives. Leading multicultural teams requires one to understand the diversity that exists among the people and how to make it a source of strength for the team instead of being a weakness. Highly diversified groups may also have highly varying opinions when it comes to how different issues should be addressed, making it difficult to achieve a consensus. A good leader must know how to deal with this challenge and make his or her people have a common focus on issues relevant to the organisation’s success. The article helps in understanding how to manage diversity. Its main limitation is that it only focuses on the mid-sized and large organisational leadership.
Williams, A, Roberts, C & Bosselman, R 2011, Youth Sports and the Emergence of Chameleon Leadership, Journal of Leadership Studies, vol. 5, no 3, pp. 6-12.
The article focused on leadership in sports, especially among the youths. They lament that there is an emergence of chameleon leadership among the youths who find themselves in leadership positions. People are unable to embrace truth in leadership. They prefer hiding their true feelings when they suspect that others may have contrary opinions about them. Chameleon leadership in sports is particularly common among the youth where the need for acceptance is very strong. Leaders tend to give the perception that they are in agreement with what others want even if they have contrary opinions. This trend means that the firm principles that a leader should have are compromised. Such leaders can change their views towards a given matter very easily based on the prevailing circumstances. The scholars argue that under such circumstances, leadership loses its true meaning. The leader will be taking the position of a passive follower who is willing to embrace new concepts of others even if they have varying opinions. The article helps in discouraging passive leadership in organisations. However, the primary weakness is that it does not include empirical research in its findings.
Grosset, Y & Attali, M 2011, The International Institutionalisation of Sport Ethics, Soc, vol. 11, no. 48, pp. 517–525.
This article looks at the international institutionalised sport ethics. In sports, there are international principles that must be followed by the players and all the stakeholders who are responsible. One of the ethical requirements of the sportsmen and women is the need to avoid muscle-stimulation drugs. There are internationally accepted laws and regulations meant to ensure that such ethical requirements are fully met by the stakeholders. In soccer, there are laws and regulations about the composition of teams, how and when to acquire new players, and how these players should behave while they are in the field. As a leader, it is important to ensure that the team members follow these laws and regulations at all times, especially when they are in the field. It is the responsibility of a team captain to ensure that his fellow players remain ethical while they are in the field in order to avoid punitive measures that may affect their overall performance. The article helps in understanding ethics in sports. The weakness is that it does not make effective use of leadership models and their relationship with sports ethics.
Smith, E & Hattery, A 2011, Race Relations Theories: Implications for Sport Management, Journal of Sport Management, vol. 6, no. 25, pp. 107-117.
The article focuses on one of the issues that have remained very controversial in various sports around the world. Race relation has been a major problem in many sports, especially in soccer. The world has become a global village and it is common to see Europeans, Asians, Arabs, and Africans play in one team either in English Premier League, Spanish Premier League or German Primer League among others. However, it has not been a smooth sailing as the issue of racism has affected the way these players relate. Cases where Africans or Asians, Africans, or Arabs are looked down upon by the Whites have been common, especially in European leagues. This makes leadership of such teams very complicated. A coach and a captain must first fight the race-related problems before focusing on issues affecting the team. From this article, we understand that team members must be made to appreciate their diversity and value others without giving any relevance to the issue of skin colour. However, the article’s focus is within the context of the community in the United States and cannot be applied elsewhere.
Small, E & Rentsch, J 2010, Shared Leadership in Teams a Matter of Distribution, Journal of Personnel Psychology, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 203–211.
The article holds that a good leader should embrace the need to share leadership and distribute responsibilities amongst the team members in order to achieve the best results. In any group, there must be a leader. It does not necessarily mean that others who were not chosen into leadership position are incapable of leading. A leader is chosen primarily because at every moment, a team must have a central point of command. A good leader should find ways of sharing leadership by distributing authorities to team members as may be appropriate. A good leader must find ways of making the followers feel responsible and appreciated. Assigning small tasks to different team members will always keep everyone actively engaged. From the article, it is clear that distributing responsibilities also makes the team members committed to their assigned tasks because they know the success of the organisation relies on their individual performance. It needs improvement in the manner in which its data was collected and analysed.
Valdiserri, G & Wilson, J 2010, The Study Of Leadership In Small Business Organisations: Impact On Profitability And Organisational Success, The Entrepreneurial Executive, vol. 15, no. 5, pp. 47-66.
The article focused on leadership in small for-profit organisation. The Leading profitable organisations have fundamental differences from the leading non-profit organisations. A business entity that relies on its operations to get revenues that will sustain it must be managed with clear targets in mind. The target of the leader should first start by making the business entity self-sustaining. In this regard, the leader must organise its team to ensure that clients’ needs are met in the most appropriate way possible in order to create a team of loyal customers. After creating a pool of loyal customers, it will be necessary to ensure that their expectations are always met without making them feel disappointed. The leader must motivate his team members to ensure that they deliver the best performance that would translate into high profits and general success of the organisation. The article is very resourceful in enhancing effective leadership in small teams.
Kinicki, A 2009, Successful small team leadership: Manage the group, not the individuals.
In this essay, the scholar has a unique view towards management of small teams. According to the scholar, a good leader should focus on managing groups, not individuals. It is not easy to influence how people behave as individuals or how they reason. Trying to manage individuals within a team can only lead to frustrations and inability to achieve the desired success within a given team. The focus should be to manage a group. Individuals may have unique behaviours, but when they come to a group, they must understand that there is a given manner in which they are expected to behave. They must understand that it is necessary to make compromises when working in teams. The leader’s focus should be on the group, not individuals. Focusing on groups helps in eliminating cases of personal differences between the leader and his team members. The article helps in understanding that petty personal differences can disorient the team’s ability to achieve its overall objective. The essay brevity in addressing some of the concepts is its main weakness.
Hanks, A 2015, The 7 Leadership Traits Small Business Owners Must Possess.
The essay outlined seven leadership traits that small business owners must possess in order to achieve success. As a leader, it is important to understand the unique traits that one is expected of when acting as a leader. Creativity is one of the important traits that this scholar has mentioned in this article. Creativity helps a leader to have unique understanding of his team and how to manipulate the team members to behave in a given desirable manner. Creativity is specifically important when managing a highly diversified group. Such a creative leader will be in a position to know how to take advantage of the creativity of his team instead of it being a dividing factor among the team members. This article also emphasises on the need for courage, good communication skills, and patience as some of the important characteristics of a leader. The article helps in explaining that some traits can help a leader to have the ability to embrace different traits among his team members. Its main weakness is that it does not include a review of other literatures.
Scuderi, R 2012, 5 Leadership Lessons From Successful Small-Business Owners.
In this article, the scholar focuses on the lessons that small business owners should focus on in order to be successful. According to the author, small businesses often have greater abilities of achieving success. However, they also have a high likelihood of stalling completely if proper measures are not taken to address fundamental issues that affect its operations. The scholar conducted an analysis of the failing trend of small business entities and realised that they often make similar mistakes that other businesses should learn from. One such mistake is failing to conduct a market review before starting a business. Without having a clear understanding of the market, a business entity is bound to make a number of mistakes that can easily lead to its ultimate failure. Another problem is running without clearly defined goals and objectives. This makes it difficult for such a business entity to have a clear focus on where it wants to be in a near future. Another common problem is running a business without strictly obeying the set organisational culture. From the article, we learn that lack of discipline and focus lead to ultimate failure of a business, especially when it is in its early stages of development. The article wholly relies on the knowledge of the scholar, reducing its reliability.
Leadership in small teams in sports and leadership in small teams in businesses may not be as easy as many may perceive because of the need to develop a vision that can lead to significant and consistent growth. According to Muna and Zennie (2011), being a leader in small teams requires one to understand the personalities of his team members. Success can only be achieved in a team if all the members are willing and ready to coordinate and work very closely in order to achieve the desired success. However, sometimes it may not be easy to work as a unit if there is no close relationship among the team members.
As a team leader, it is responsible to find a way of developing this close relationship. Smith and Hattery (2011) say that it may be challenging to make the team members embrace one another if they are from diverse backgrounds and are meeting for the first time. One of the biggest arguments in handling small teams is how to manage stereotypes and wrong perceptions. While most leaders often prefer ignoring such issues, sometimes stereotypical views may affect the performance of a team. Their perceptions and stereotypes about other people from different backgrounds may cloud their thinking, making it difficult for them to jell and work as a team. For instance, there is this wrong perception that Blacks are often aggressive and short-tempered. This belief may make other members of the team stay away from them for fear of their aggressive and violent nature.
Such wrong perceptions may affect the ability of a small sports team or a small business entity to achieve the set objectives. In small teams in sports, such stereotypes may lead to balkanization among the members where one group hates the other group. In such circumstances, team members cannot train together or undertake various tasks as a unit. In small businesses, such stereotypes may lead to suspicions and hatred among the members, impairing their judgment when working as a unit. It is, therefore, important for a leader in small teams in sports or in business to find ways of enhancing unity, understanding, and commitment among the members.
It will take a great effort of the leader to identify the wrong perceptions and stereotypes and find a way of dealing with them effectively in order to make the team members behave as one large family. In sports, success cannot be achieved individually. Every team member must understand the role of their colleagues in achieving success. Similarly, members of small businesses must know their individual roles within the firm, and how they can coordinate to ensure that they achieve the desired success. Each of the team members must learn how to appreciate the diversity and be ready to use it positively for a common growth of the members.
Any disagreements must always be addressed as soon as they arise and the involved parties must reconcile and be ready to forget about the past negative experiences. As Hanks (2015) says, one of the biggest threats to the success of a team is a situation where conflicts are left unresolved. It results into a situation where members pile resentments towards their colleagues and when it reaches a given limit, then it may turn violent. Immediate resolution of conflicts within the team should be one of the primary concerns of a leader at all times. Such a leader should endeavour to be neutral, fair, and committed to restoring peace at all times.
Managing small teams in businesses has a number of similarities with managing small teams in sports. Managing small teams in sports and managing small teams in business both require an understanding of the vision that should be achieved after a given period. When a business is a for-profit entity, then there are a number of factors that the leader should put into considerations in order to achieve the desired success. As Heifetz (2008) notes, a profitable organisation relies on its profits to pay for its expenses and finance its expansion project.
When operating in an industry where competition is stiff and there are established market leaders, the challenge becomes even bigger. The leader of such a business will need to critically analyse the market forces and how they affect firms in the particular industry. Similarly, a leader of small teams in sports must understand that their sustainability rely on achieving success, even when the environment is challenging, in order to get a sponsor. With that knowledge, it becomes easy to come up with plans on how to overcome the challenges and take full advantage of the opportunities that the market has to present. It may also help a firm to know how to take advantage of the weaknesses of its competitors in the market.
The leading small teams in sports and small teams in business require development of a clear vision and mission statements that will guide the activities of the team members (Grosset & Attali 2011). Most of the leaders of such small business and sports teams often have a wrong notion that vision and mission statements are only meant for large entities that have a wide coverage. However, the truth is that these small teams in sports and in businesses require these two statements more than the established ones.
As a small business unit or a small sports team, it is necessary to have a clear path and proposed destination. The vision statement will help the leader and his entire team to understand the desired position that the business or sports team should be after a given period. Every team member will be trying to commit their energy, skills, and knowledge towards helping the small entities achieve this goal. The mission statement explains how the small team will achieve the set goals (Valdiserri & Wilson 2010).
It explains the path that will be taken, and the values that will be held in an attempt to reach the defined destination. The mission statement helps in developing an organisational culture. Most of the successful small teams in sports and in business know that developing a clear vision is one of the major steps towards having a successful organisation.
According to Kinicki (2009), organisational culture is very important when managing small teams in sports and small teams in businesses. Having a sports team where members share the same values and beliefs towards specific management and operational issues is critical in achieving success (Scott 2014). The same is the case when managing small business teams. The only problem is that every individual is unique with unique ideas and views towards different issues in life. It means that even in an organisational setting, it is not easy to have a situation where every team member has exact thought on how a given task is to be addressed or how a given decision should be made.
However, the desire to have shared principles, values, and beliefs has made it necessary for organisations to develop organisational behaviour. It helps to bring together the divergent views of the members within a given team. It sets a clear pattern of the principles and beliefs that all members are expected to embrace when making critical decisions. Under such systems, members of small teams in sports and in businesses may have varying views over a given issue, but the shared values will make them have a common way of reaching a consensus. The consensus will be based on shared values within the team.
Managing small teams may be easy when one has transformational leadership traits. It does not mean that those who lack these traits cannot lead small teams. The traits only enhance leadership. According to Kinicki (2009), Transformational Leadership Theory defines how a leader should relate with the followers in order to make them highly successful in the activities they undertake. A transformational leader must be able to positively challenge the current capacities of his team members in a way that would make them want to be more productive. Such a leader should make his team members rediscover themselves and be more successful in their assignments. He or she should ignite positive energy among the team members and the desire to deliver better results every time they undertake a given activity.
It can be concluded that leadership in small teams in sports and leadership in small teams in business share a number of common factors. They both require a leader to ensure that every team member embraces diversity, teamwork, and commitment. The leaders under these two settings must realise that achieving success is only possible if there is a clearly set vision that offers guidance to what the team members should achieve within a given period.
Background: what happened
Analysis of my past experiences may help me improve my personal skills as an aspiring leader in this great nation. I have been in various positions of leadership before. The most memorable leadership position I held was the captain of a small football team. I joined the team as a junior player and through dedication and hard-work I was made the captain of the team. This position came with a number of challenges that I did not expect. The first one was the fact that most of the team members did not accept me as their captain.
Some of them had been with the team for a longer period than I hence they felt they were more justified to hold that position. I was one of the few players in this team that came from a different town. Some of the team members felt that the position should have been given to one of their own. Others wanted friends whom they were with at school to be given the position, and given that I was from a different school from most of them, I did not get such support. There was also another group of students who had dropped out of school at tender ages to play professional football who felt that I did not deserve the position.
To them, they had sacrificed everything for football hence they should have been considered. I had to bring all these people, some of whom had resentments towards me, together in order to achieve a common goal. With a lot of difficulty, I was able to convince them that all of us were leaders in different respects, hence we had to rise to the occasion and work for our team without wasting time about issues of leadership. I was with the team for seven years, and it was during the time that I was the captain that we managed to win championship.
A critical analysis of my past leadership experiences reveals a number of critical behavioural characteristics. The first one is patience. I had to exercise restraint and patience to deal with people who believed that I did not deserve the position I held in the team. I had to understand them and find ways of making them work with me as a team instead of seeing me as an outsider.
The experiences also demonstrate that I am a team player. It was through this team spirit that I was able to make my teammates work as a unit in order to achieve a common goal. Being a goal oriented person is another trait that was exhibited during the time I spent with this team. My primary goal was to lead my team to win championship. I succeeded in achieving this goal and my team, after many years of struggling, came at the top of the table during the time I was the captain. Currently, I am studying leadership in teams which directly relates to my past experiences.
I have learnt a number of leadership skills that I did not have back then when I was a leader. I learnt these lessons by going through various literatures to have a better understanding of leadership in small teams in sports and small teams in business. I have learnt a number of lessons and had insights that will enable me to be a better leader in the future. Developing positive organisational culture is one of the most important insights that I have learnt, and I intend to apply it whenever I find myself in a leadership position.
I have also learnt how to develop and implement visions and missions that can help in guiding small teams into achieving bigger success. At the time I was a captain, I knew our primary goal was to be at the table of championship. However, I did not know how to transform this goal into a clear vision and how to develop a mission statement that my team members would understand to guide them towards achieving success.
I have plans to join a political party in the near future because I believe that I have a role to play in transforming our country into a better nation than what it is currently. I believe I have the potential to lead people in this country in various political positions. Currently, I am keen to become a mayor in my local town. It is true that getting to this position will be a very challenging task, but I am ready for the challenge.
To be a political leader in such a sensitive position, there are a number of factors that I will have to consider to make me a better leader. The first one is the need to spend more time with the followers in order to understand their needs. Most politicians rarely interact with their electorates, making it difficult for these leaders to know what their followers want. I believe I will be a different leader from them. I will also take time to learn more about how to improve security concerns of my people and how to react when people get angry about an issue within the society.
The other area of improvement is the ability to mobilise the community towards a common cause. As a mayor, I will not be creating thousands of jobs for the jobless youths, and neither will I single-handedly address other concerns such as insecurity and disaster management without the support of community members. I need to know how to mobilise the members of the community towards a common cause so that social evils such as joblessness, crime, and corruption can be eliminated successfully. As a mayor, I will be meeting several individuals and entities who may want services of my office. I will also need time to go to the grass-root to understand the views of the normal citizens and how they view my government in terms of service delivery. It means that one of the areas I will need to improve on is time management, because I have the skills in other critical areas of leadership. I will need more knowledge on how to balance the various responsibilities within the limited time available.
List of References
Grosset, Y & Attali, M. 2011. The International Institutionalisation of Sport Ethics, Soc, vol. 11, no. 48, pp. 517–525.
Hanks, A. 2015. The 7 Leadership Traits Small Business Owners Must Possess. Web.
Heifetz, R. 2008. Business leadership: A Jossey-Bass reader, Jossey-Bass Inc, San Francisco.
Kinicki, A. 2009. Successful small team leadership: Manage the group, not the individuals. Web.
Muna, F & Zennie, A. 2011. Developing multicultural leaders: The journey to leadership success, Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
Scott, D. 2014. Contemporary leadership in sport organizations, Human Kinetics, Champaign.
Scuderi, R. 2012. 5 Leadership Lessons From Successful Small-Business Owners. Web.
Small, E & Rentsch, J. 2010. Shared Leadership in Teams a Matter of Distribution, Journal of Personnel Psychology, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 203–211.
Smith, E & Hattery, A. 2011. Race Relations Theories: Implications for Sport Management, Journal of Sport Management, vol. 6, no. 25, pp. 107-117.
Valdiserri, G & Wilson, J. 2010. The Study Of Leadership In Small Business Organisations: Impact On Profitability And Organisational Success, The Entrepreneurial Executive, vol. 15, no. 5, pp. 47-66.
Williams, A, Roberts, C & Bosselman, R. 2011. Youth Sports and the Emergence of Chameleon Leadership, Journal of Leadership Studies, vol. 5, no 3, pp. 6-12.