• Leaders provide direction, support, inspiration and motivation
  • Time, information, acceptance and capability all affect leadership styles
USA Basketball’s 5 Steps to Being a Good Leader

USA Basketball’s 5 Steps to Being a Good Leader

  1. Learn from your mistakes
  2. Lead by example
  3. Put others’ needs first
  4. Have confidence
  5. Set a high standard


Players meet in a huddle to listen to their coach and their quarterback

In order for leaders to effectively communicate it is important for leaders to:

  1. Develop a leadership message
  2. Deliver the leadership message
  3. Sustain the leadership message

It is important for each leader to provide direction, support, inspiration and motivation when delivering a message and addressing a group.

Leadership Styles of Communication

Task-oriented communication:

  • Focus is the task, not the person performing the task
  • May ignore the feelings and feedback of others
  • Close supervision and rigid communication

Relationship-oriented communication:

  • Focus is provision of a supportive, trusting and respectful work environment
  • Not closely supervising performance
  • Actively listens and solicits opinions, recognizes feelings

The style of leadership communication chosen is based on the overall goal of the leader and what the group as a whole is looking to accomplish.


Former Clippers owner Donald Sterling (top left), WWE CEO Vince McMahon (top right) and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver (bottom)

Ability to See Ethical Problems

  • In a study published in March, researchers found that in many organizations higher-ranked individuals have a harder time discerning ethical issues.
  • This is often due to a higher identification with the group.

Example in Sports Organizations

Offensive lineman coach Jim Turner talks to his unit during a game.
  • Coach Jim Turner from the Miami Dolphins is an example of a leader who took part in a string of bullying incidents, not only as a bystander, but even as a participant.
  • Identification with the group made it so that Coach Turner could not see that his actions were unethical.
  • Other players recognized that this was unethical.


Good Leadership

Jonathan Martin (right) embraces quarterback Andrew Luck (left)
  • Jonathan Martin had two different head coaches at Stanford: Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw.
  • Both coaches are widely regarded as top-10 coaches in college football.
  • Stanford is a top university in the country.
  • There is a large level of respect for the university and between people within the university.
  • Martin was able to thrive at Stanford between the university's culture and the football program's culture.

Bad Leadership

Richie Incognito (left) talks with Jonathan Martin (right)
  • Poor leadership in the Dolphins organization and the offensive line unit.
  • Richie Incognito was widely regarded as the “leader” of the offensive line and “dictated the culture."
  • Incognito constantly bullying Martin (racial slurs, sexual innuendos, etc.) relayed a message to the team that a culture of bullying and harassment was accepted within the locker room and organization.
  • Even the offensive line coach got in on the act.


"Leadership means everything. You need a leader in any sports organization to be successful and organizations who have more than one, like maybe two to four, can be very successful."

"Just trying to be a more vocal leader, lead by example, and give the young guys a good example when they first get on campus of the work ethic they need to have to be successful and help us succeed." -Devonte' Graham, Kansas Jayhawks point guard
"Coach Williams stood out as a leader by his competitive nature. He's tough minded and big on competing to get what you want in life. That being said, it's unacceptable for one of his teams to get outcompeted. As far as the program - leadership means setting a standard for greatness and earning the right to lead through competing." -Justin Coleman, former UNC Tar Heels basketball player

"I think leadership is the foundation of every successful team or organization. The best leaders I've seen and tried to emulate have always taken the low place and put everyone else in front of themselves. Selflessness is huge."

"Coach DeChellis' leadership instilled in all of us the importance of preparation. We were always the most physically and mentally prepared team in every game I played wearing a Navy jersey. He forces his players to grind. He also taught emotional toughness. It was hard to get a kind word out of him because he was constantly pushing us to heights we never thought we could reach. He brings toughness to the program like no coach I've ever played for." -James Hemphill, Navy Midshipmen basketball player

"I wanted to say so much more. Leadership is huge at Navy. I take a class on it every semester."

"Leadership takes on a variety of forms in any organization. There is horizontal leadership and vertical leadership. In most sports organizations, the coach and general manager are the guardians of the culture. They are responsible for setting the standards for the entire organization will strive to live up to. In addition, there is leadership within the team through the players themselves. A coach led team only goes so far. The best teams have great leadership among the players."

"The best leader I played for is Mike Krzyzewski. He was clearly in charge of our culture as a team, but he empowered all of us to use our skills and abilities to the fullest within the team concept. We all had roles, but we were not cemented into those roles, but were encouraged to be stars in our roles. The best leaders as teammates were Tommy Amaker and Johnny Dawkins. Both were amazing players, but thought beyond their own games. We had a group of very accomplished individuals that took great pride in the success of the team."

"Martin Dempsey, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, once said that the best qualities of a great leader are character, competence and humility. I thought that was very well put."

"Coach K is very genuine. Clearly, he is very competent, and an expert in his field. However, there are a lot of experts in his field. Coach K has an amazing ability to get people to buy into doing their very best for one another, instead of just doing the best thing for the individual. He is constantly engaged with his team, and how to make everyone better. His ability to make the complicated seem simple is remarkable." -Jay Bilas, ESPN college basketball analyst and former Duke Blue Devils basketball player


Thank you!


Created with images by KeithJJ - "football coach head coach texan" • KeithJJ - "football team huddle teamwork"

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