Every team, every sport, every organisation needs leadership. In difficult and testing times, persons whether it be in sport or another form, are left searching out their leaders but not everyone can pick up the baton and lead the team away from a testing period.
It takes a special range of characteristics to excel as a sports leader and there are times when you’ve been sent home or asked to step aside and make room for a change in leadership, you then simply have to put your hands up and accept it. In the season of elections here we know that one side must lose after a hard-fought campaign.
While no election is without its hiccups and problems, each “loser” of a modern presidential contest should always acknowledge his defeat and congratulate the president-elect once the dust has settled (if not with great joy, then at least with some grace). It is always hoped that those defeated will call for the people to come together to work for the good of country or sport. Unfortunately, it’s not a “Christmas” wish that everyone makes.
Ultimately, our common history and shared destiny demand leadership that seeks not to divide our country, but rather to bring all together. This proves to be our greatest challenge. No one knows the bitter feeling of defeat more than those who have come in second. Nevertheless, when the time comes, those from the losing side one hopes could put aside personal politics to recognize the winners in the changing of guards. And the media must be careful not to help propagate false narratives. Sacrificing journalistic integrity is simply not worth the clicks and the traffic.
Presidents, Chief Eexcutive Officers (CEO), coaches and captains are the first places to look for leadership, but they aren't the only ones who can take the bull by the horns on-or-off the field. Leadership can come from any team member on the pitch. Develop the right skills, and you could be the one delivering a killer injection of leadership to lift your team.
I have always believed that as a leader and authority figure, your fellow team members are likely to follow you down any behavioural path you choose. For the good of the team then, you need to be heading down the right pathway. I am confident we are capable of this in football, and so too athletics, cricket and hopefully across our sporting sector.
If you're seen with your head down, ranting and raving at anything possible, or generally negatively conducting yourself – then the players, the athletes, will see no reason why they can't behave in the same manner. The best leaders are the hardest workers on the pitch and the most respectful of their sport.
Sport is intrinsically passionate. You feel the same set of emotions out on the pitch every weekend: euphoria from victory and disappointment in defeat. As a leader, you have to embody the positive side of those emotions (commitment, dedication and passion) to drive your team towards their goals.
It's not all about fist-pumping and over-exuberant celebrations; passion can be about showing compassion for your teammates or respecting the opposition.
Many of the characteristics required to be a successful sports leader interlock with one another. Whenever you call upon them, do so as another step on the ladder to your overarching vision.
The start of a leadership journey, use it as a constant source of motivation. Last month FIFA conducted a course for regional technical directors and general secretaries in St Lucia where they discussed the complementary roles the two positions held in an association and the close cooperation between administrative and technical sectors.
T&T’s Anton Corneal was a FIFA lecturer in the course and one of the areas focused on even showed how the different sides, whether it be those in power and those on the other side of the fence should pull their expertise and intentions together to benefit the sport on a whole.
The modern sports industry encompasses a broad range of organizations and roles, including athletes and coaches, team executives and staff, medical staff, and media professionals.
The Trinidad and Tobago FA will be aiming to build a positive culture, knowing fully well that its work is cut out. One of the key differentiating factors between organizations of any kind is the type of culture they choose to build. While building and retaining top talent remains incredibly important, it’s difficult to develop talent effectively in a dysfunctional environment. High performing organizations understand that stability and support matter when it comes to achieving sustainable success. In the sports industry, this often takes the form of everyone leaning into a team concept that emphasizes why everyone’s role is vital to the organization’s success.
Building a positive culture requires a broad organizational buy-in. It’s not enough for the people at the top to set the tone; the organization needs to promote that culture at every level. They emphasize the value of their people and make it clear that everyone has a role to play in collective success.
Shaun Fuentes is the head of TTFA Media. He is a former FIFA Media Officer at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and currently a CONCACAF Competitions Media Officer.