Passion for the Task

Just because you are a leader
in one aspect of your life
doesn't mean you are a leader
in every aspect of your life
Passion for the task
is a key ingredient of Leadership
I recall a high school soccer player who was among the very best team captains I have seen in nearly 4 decades of participation in team sports. Everyone assumed he was headed for greatness in life based on the leadership abilities he displayed in a soccer team environment. The age old saying "to assume makes an ass out of u and me" comes to mind. While the former player is making a positive impact on society it is not in the role of a soccer coach as many, myself included and perhaps especially so, anticipated it would be. He's dabbled a bit in coaching off and on for a few years, but always seemed (to me) reluctant to do so.  I suppose he caved to expectations for him to be a coach when the passion to be one wasn't present.  And that one word, passion, is what all great leaders in their field have. 
I have seen this throughout the years in the context of captains for teams. Players with great passion for their sport and their team are often overlooked in favor of athletes who display leadership ability elsewhere in their lives. In recent years, I had a young man on our club soccer team who I suspected would make a good captain.  The trouble was, he was on a team comprised of players over half of whom were captains for their respective high school teams.  This particular player was among those who were not a captain for his high school team. Although he was largely overshadowed as a leader on the club team, his light did shine through on occasion. It took fielding two club teams last spring and placing him on the second squad for his leadership skills to come to the fore and really blossom.  As a senior, he should have been one of the three captains for his high school team.
That leads into the final point I wish to make today - A title does not make someone a leader.  The title of head coach did not make Ryan a good leader as a coach nor did the lack of a title prevent Matthew from being a leader on his high school team.  Leadership is an action word, but only when actions are passion driven can effective leadership be a positive difference maker for a team.  Ryan obviously had a passion for playing the game but this has yet to transform itself into a passion for coaching the game. In Matthew's case, he simply needed the correct environment to allow the embers of his passion to flame to life. 

As powerful an influence as leadership can be, ineffective leadership in any endeavor can actually be a hindrance to achieving to potential. So, select your captains carefully.  Select your assistant coach carefully. If you are an athletic director or club director of coaching, select the head coach carefully.  Select for any leadership position carefully with passion for the task being a primary consideration.

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