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Abstract

Any successful sport must have a strong leader with good qualities in applying the necessary principles. Effective collaboration of the team members is of critical importance to enhance competitive performance. Many players are more comfortable to exercise their skills in a free environment fully. Most of the players prefer to get a competent leader who is always sensitive to all the aspects of the sport. In the current sports sector, many changes have emerged which requires an active coach to learn on how to impart new skills to the players. By responding to the gradual changes in the sporting industry, better leaders emerge who are ready to transform sporting abilities in the young and old alike. Through actively participating in sports, one gets physical exercise which improves his general health. Games is also a source of livelihood to many. The success of a leader is boosted by a continuous seeking of knowledge concerning the practicing field. It is, therefore, a role of physical activity coaches to continually seek more knowledge concerning their area of practice. Together with the individual role of instructors, is the overall government support by the provision of favorable conditions like the legislation of various laws that support sports. By the way law sport cases are really interesting, you can read some of them on http://wolfsden.org/ if you want to know more.  Poor government legislations affect growth of talents among the citizens thereby lowering individual drive of perfection. International organized tournaments also help boost emergency and growth of sporting talents through the raising of standards of play. International regulations play a vital role in giving leaders directives on how to execute their leadership.

Introduction

Contemporary means the current trends in various designs (Yoder-Wise et al, 2010). Contemporary sports leadership, therefore, is the modern designs that are followed by sports leaders in ensuring the players practice best skills. A successful leader must possess the following qualities honesty, effectiveness in communication, ability to efficiently delegate duties, high confidence, creativity, commitment and positive attitude. Selection of leaders is thus supposed to be based on guiding principles that outline qualities of the interested parties. Effective leadership raises the performance of those lead into achieving the best in the activities that they do.

Every country provides guidelines for all the physical activities that her citizen practices. Provision of conducive environment encourages the emergence of talents in various sports. Thus, it is the responsibility of the country to form a governing body to oversee all issues relating to sports. In specific, the New Zealand governing body of swimming, founded on 4th January 1890, take responsibility for doping control, elite performance, enhancement of international relationships, and organization of sporting events within New Zealand. The body has a responsibility in promoting water safety, undertaking swimming trains, and provision of education and certification of swim schools and coaches. The purpose of writing this essay is to critically analyze the contemporary sports leadership principles that are applied in physical activity concerning swimming in New Zealand.

Leadership is the activity of leading people or a specific organization into pursuing a set goal or objectives. Leadership involves establishing a clear vision of the tasks to be performed and sharing that vision with others to ensure the voluntary following. Also, leadership involves coordinating and balancing the disagreeing interests of all the members. Therefore, every sector needs a competent leader who is capable of applying all the set standard of operations. Successful leadership in return leads to the harmony of the group thus increased production. Every sector needs to have guiding principles to avoid loss of focus. For instance, there are various sports leadership principles, and they include; collaborative leadership, transformational leadership, transactional leadership, distributed leadership and provision for individual voice and empowerment.

Collaborative leadership

Collaboration exists when people recognize that no one can succeed without the others (De Witt et al, 2017). Each has unique capabilities that others lack. The best outcome can is achieved through the combination of all the expertise among the team members. Collaboration is characterized by norms of give and take, trust, shared responsibilities, conflict resolution and consensus building, shared information, shared authority and power and the decision-making system (Archer et al, 2013). In a team of swimmers, the collaborative leader cultivates teamwork, transparency, flexibility, and compassion among the team members.

Teamwork encourages individuals to give and receive feedback freely. Freedom of giving feedback fosters members to concentrate on the weak areas thus improve the overall ability to swim. Through sharing of personal difficulties, team members gain more trust amongst each other therefore build a strong interpersonal bond. For instance, the New Zealand Amateur Swimming Association, formed in 1890 has been organizing competitions between member clubs through a united forum. Unity in the club has resulted in the growth of considerable talents in swimming who have been taking the lead in the world championships. Qualified leaders in the organization have been a driving force on teamwork and perfection of an individual through active sharing of experiences. Cooperation, in most cases, leads to the growth of a sense of belonging and compassion among the team members.

Swimming New Zealand trains coaches and leaders to emphasize the importance of compassion. People undertaking all the physical activities are taught to be compassionate to each other through listening to each other’s' comments. Freedom of discussion among the members raises teamwork and builds happiness among all the players. The instructors are under a mandate to ensure that all the trainees and practicing individuals communicate freely to foster the growth of skills. Leaders are also trained to instill transparency attribute to the swimmers. The coaches motivate individuals to build the tendency of openly sharing information and knowledge with others. Sharing of information about various swimming skills has enabled the New Zealander swimmers to have high performers both in the local and international competitions. Through the active role of the coaches, swimming has become one of the most preferred physical activity in New Zealand. The coaches are also encouraged to foster flexibility among the swimmers.

During my practical lessons, I observed teamwork among the swimmers. All those who participated in the swimming activity demonstrated the importance of having team spirit through the efforts of a committed leader. The leader was ever present whenever one needed assistance resulting to a conducive environment for all to freely exercise their skills. The activity gave all the members a sense of belonging due to the friendly guiding sessions by the coach.

Distributed leadership

Distributed leadership is an analytical approach undertaken to understand leadership abilities of people in a given set up. Leadership is exercised as a property of a group of interacting people in any setting (MacBeath et al, 2004). Where there is the application of distributed leadership principles, a shift in focus from the behaviors and attributes of individual leaders has become popular resulting in a more systematic perspective. Here leadership is practiced as a collective social process resulting from the interaction of all the members of the organization. Therefore, distributed leadership is not an individual initiative but rather a joint exercise of leadership actions in the running of an event or an enterprise. Members of an organization prefer more the spread concept of leadership in favor of the other styles (Spillane et al, 2007). This is because of the fluid nature of the distributed form as compared to the fixed phenomenon of having a central leader who is the only source of instruction. For there to have an active distributed leadership, there must be the multiplicity of group functions performed and the overall numerical frequency of the actions from all the players in the leadership roles. Use of this type of leadership helps many people to take part in improving the activities of an organization actively.

The use of distributed leadership in running organizations has become more preferred in the current world. Most sectors are taking up the principle to improve on the participatory nature of all the players in their team. Sports sector has significantly gained from the benefits of distributed leadership. Physical activities have become more interesting due to the fluid nature of the provision of instructions. All players are given an opportunity of providing their views on the best ways of undertaking their practices and the overall management of the sporting activity. As a result, there has been an increase in the number of best players in various sports. Skills acquired by an individual are thus quickly learned by the others through the combined efforts of all. As a property of a group, leadership is actively exercised by all bringing in more new ideas on how to improve the team. Management is therefore made easy as many participants are precisely aware of their roles in the group. Smooth control of the team results in a quicker acquisition of skills and personal development of all the players. Therefore, every physical activity governing body has a responsibility of ensuring that there is active involvement of all the players in leading the sector. New Zealand sports and swimming department is one of the bodies that encourage distributed leadership in sports.

Swimming in New Zealand has been organized to include persons of all age and backgrounds. Swimmers are given a chance in taking part in the leadership of their respective swimming clubs. Every person regardless of the age has been given an equal position in the club to ensure active participation of all. Individuals with weaker personalities have thus been helped to improve their interpersonal relationships with other players. Children as young as ten years are given chances to express their swimming prowess. Instructors of the pools provide specific guidelines to the swimmers but leave them to make their drive in improving skills. Swimmers have thereby been able to gain skills through both personal and collective efforts as a swimming group. The practical swimming lessons that I attended taught me a lot on the principle of distributed leadership.

Each swimmer was given a chance to display his/her skills to the rest once in every swimming session for the five weeks. I recognized the importance of having a distributed leadership in a group undertaking any activity. Swimmers were encouraged to copy better skills from their counterparts. On the first day, the swimmers did not have confidence in displaying their skills, but in the consecutive sessions, confidence started to build up. The efforts of the instructor to encourage full participation of all the players significantly raised interpersonal communication hence freedom in expression. By the third day, all swimmers except one had gained enough confidence to engage in leading the rest while performing their activities. The instructor took an extra effort in ensuring that all the swimmers got the best out of the five-week sessions. He encouraged the slow learner to be passive in all the stages of swimming lessons. All swimmers got well equipped upon the elapse of the practical.

Provision for individual voice and empowerment

Empowerment is the promotion of the social, educational, political, gender and spiritual strength in individuals. There are four aspects of empowerment leadership. The first element is leader-subordinate relationships factors which include leader-member exchange and trust. The second is individual level factors comprising of personality, sex, desire, and control. The third aspect is organizational level factors which contain organization system control. Lastly, there are cultural factors which include uncertainty avoidance and power distance (cartwright, 2002) . The ability of a leader to promote all the four aspects greatly improves the satisfaction and efficiency of the led people. Leadership must ensure that gender equality is enhanced during the exercise of authority. Every member of the team must be given an opportunity to air his/her views regardless of the gender. The political affiliation of a member must not be used as a limiting factor when it comes to the execution of the assigned roles. There should be a fair and just treatment to everyone to avoid any forms of aggression.  Leaders also must ensure that there is a continuous development of personalities among all the team members. Leadership empowerment, therefore, creates challenges to individuals to become responsible and involved in all what they do.

Promotion of individual voice and empowerment in physical activities enhances active participation of all the participants. Fairness in the treatment of players regardless of their gender, age, political affiliation, background status, educational standards, and personality plays a significant role in building talents. Individuals are thus able to express all their skills hence promotion of their growth. Many people are more attached to a leader who is sensitive to all aspects regarding an individual's personality. The coach provides individual training skills that gradually builds a person's profession.

New Zealand swimming body has embraced individual voice and empowerment in all the leaders who are tasked in coaching swimmers. There are set platforms whereby individual swimmer can use to air their concerns about their training (Swimming New Zealand organization, 2004). Every person regardless of their status is enabled to give and receive feedback concerning their daily practices. Swimming clubs have been given the mandate to ensure that all the members are provided with an opportunity for equal growth. Coaches who are best in promoting team empowerment are given special recognition through the provision of fringe benefits and promotion to a higher class of leadership. New Zealand swimmers significantly benefit from the combined efforts of the coaches through a well-established governing body. During the practical sessions, I learned a lot concerning the individual empowerment of the swimmers.

The coach was always patient and gave the swimmers enough time to express their skills. In the process, everyone gradually became more comfortable in practicing their skills. The coach gave a keen attention to all the suggestions of the swimmers and gave a clear advice where one had a weak comment. Freedom in practicing their skills gave the swimmers more confidence in exploiting more skills, a fact that saw them at the close of the sessions significantly improve their performance. The trainer continuously advised swimmers on how to perfect their skills.

Transformational leadership

Transformational leadership is an approach that imparts a change in people and social systems. The approach creates valuable and positive transformations in the followers develop them into being successful leaders (Yoder-Wise et al, 2010). Proper enactment of transformation promotes morale, motivation, and performance of the group members through various ways. The followers can connect their sense of identity and self to the shared goal of the institution. Therefore the leader takes a role model job to inspire the followers into working towards achieving higher ends. Also, a transformational leader should understand the strengths and weaknesses of the followers and give them the challenge to own their assigned duties. Transformational leadership in swimming creates a range of benefits for the swimmers.

The New Zealand Amateur Swimming body empowers all the coaches to promote the sports swimmers through various ways. The coaches instill a sense of identity among the swimmers to help them relate freely amongst themselves. The instructors are also trained on how to motivate the swimmers to remain positive in doing their activities even on a rigorous training session. The coach is also advised to ensure that he/she displays best skills to motivate the learners copy their swimming skills. My practical sessions helped me to gain more knowledge on transformational leadership in swimming.

Swimmers were not given any chance to drop on their performance. There was an instance when one of the participants showed signs of despair. The coach encouraged him by a warm talk on the importance of staying focused in all the swimming steps. Upon the completion of the swimming session, all participants were happy and confessed that they would continue with more lessons in future with the same coach. On enquiring more why they would prefer that, they told me that the level of professionalism and closeness of the instructor made them achieve to have a tremendous improvement in their skills.

Transactional leadership

Transactional leadership focuses on organization, supervision, and performance (Sarkar et al, 2014. In this approach, a leader promotes agreement of his followers through both punishments and rewards. The guiding principle here is keeping things the same regardless the circumstances. Leaders, therefore, keep more attention to the followers' work while aiming toward finding deviations and faults. The transactional leaders are more concerned with the processes rather than the straight thinking ideas (Sadler, 2003). These leaders concentrate on contingent positive reinforcement and contingent negative reinforcement. Whenever a person achieves the set goal, he receives praise to keep him on track for the optimal completion of duties. In case a person performs below the set standards, a leader punishes him to remedy poor performance. Physical activity leaders embrace the skills of transactional leadership in many ways.

Leaders mostly use praise and fringe benefits to maintain good performance and punishments like expansion from the field of play for a certain period. Transactional leadership plays a major role in maintaining the playing standard of the players when all the surrounding circumstances are maintained. Whenever there is an emergency, this model fails to address issues amicably. The New Zealand coaches practice the transactional model of leadership strictly while combining the other models.

The instructors of the physical activities in New Zealand balance the use of positive and negative reinforcement on the players. There is a close touch with the coach and the players at all times regardless of the standard of performance. For instance, the department of swimming has trained leaders in ensuring that swimmers are not subjected to extreme negative reinforcement to avoid burn outs. My practical lessons in the swimming at the swimming pool gave me more insight on the standard of transactional leadership ability of the coach.

The coach always insisted on the exercise of the right skills with the efforts of having it maintained. I learned that a successful leader must be patient regardless of the situation. The instructor always kept his emotions low to encourage even those who were being punished. As a result, the punishment was taken positively and generated a need to learn more.

Conclusion

Leaders have a responsibility of understanding all the available leadership models to help them lead their followers correctly. A leader needs to be working freely with his followers to ensure that all the taught lessons followed and expected results achieved. Free collaboration is necessary between the leader and his subordinates for harmonious execution of tasks. Additionally, a leader needs to distribute his leadership duties among the followers to help all have ownership of the tasks. People become more encouraged to work with a flexible leader who is friendly and compassionate to them. Again, a leader is under an obligation to ensure that all the followers are given a free environment of airing their views regarding their tasks. The ability of the leader to allow his people a chance to voice out their feelings on the duties assist in boosting cohesion between them and the leader. An instructor is also supposed to make adjustments in the manner in which the group members are undertaking their tasks to improve their performance. Finally, a leader needs to always motivate the group members in their duties for better results. Whenever an individual is unable to do well the assigned duties, right enforcement should be administered to avoid regression and finally burn out.

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