Leadership in Athletics: Teamwork

Teamwork is where leadership is born! Leadership is cultivated from many essential life skills and characteristics that will help guide you through life’s greatest and toughest transitions.

The journey of a collegiate and professional football player manifests many transitions. Some transitions provide excitement, joy, and happiness. Yet most are very challenging, sad and emotionally difficult to process. Most of us find ourselves in limbo throughout the process of transitioning. There are essential life skills that can assist us with this that I would like to illustrate into a four-part series: teamwork, commitment, discipline and setting attainable goals. Mastering these skills will help cultivate you into a great leader. We will start with teamwork.

Growing up in the inner city of Cleveland Ohio, I realized I had exceptional athletic abilities. I excelled in the sport of football and had aspirations of being a Division I scholarship athlete. My parents could not afford to send me to college. I was ill-prepared academically, so my next option was to utilize my athletic ability to fund my college education. In order to make sure I was on the right path to becoming a student athlete and college graduate, I had to accept and understand the concept of teamwork. As a freshman in college on the football team, I was asked to be a team captain, which immediately catapulted me into a leadership position. And this is where I learned about a lot about teamwork: the combined action of a group of people, especially when handled in an effective and efficient manner.

The maturation of your skill sets will thrust you into leadership opportunities. Let’s decide: Who makes up your team? First and foremost, everyone has to have a positive attitude because negativity will divide and destroy a team. You don't have to play sports to be a part of a team, but most likely if you're not on a sports team, it will consist of your parents, siblings, teachers, mentors and close friends.

You're playing the game of life, so everyone on the team has a role. Since this is your team and your life, you are very instrumental in making sure the team is very functional and continuously operating toward your triumph and happiness.

Teamwork is important because not many individuals can achieve success all by themselves; you have to have a solid support system to help throughout the process. It's important for you to have the team’s positive reinforcement when negativity or adversity abruptly occurs and tries to influence you toward the wrong direction.

Throughout life’s journey, we all have faced numerous obstacles, adversity, and difficult situations that arise. Primarily, a lot of the choices we have made come from the advice from our support systems — which make a distinct difference in our lives. When you have the ability to depend on teamwork, you gain access to another lifeline. You have more than just your mindset to make a very important decision. With this type of team concept in place, you can see why it's imperative to have your team in place to help you critically think and analyze decisions that shape and influence your life. Look for Part 2 of the series about “commitment” and making the sacrifice or pledge to be grateful and great!


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Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.