WHAT IS LEADERSHIP?
“Leadership is influence - nothing more, nothing less.”
John C. Maxwell
A leader is a person who has a vision, a drive, and a strong commitment to achieve
that vision—and who takes action in support of their vision. The “action” part is vital. Just
having a vision is not enough. Good leaders take steps to achieve their vision and
move forward when faced with difficulties. A great leader does not give up, and
always finds another way to do something in the face of adversity.
WHO CAN BE A LEADER?
“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price
all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”
For people who believe that “being a leader” means telling everyone else what to do,
there can be only a couple of leaders on a team. But once you see that leadership is
really about vision, drive, commitment, and taking action, it opens up possibilities for
every team member to be a leader. At the beginning of my hockey career, I truly believed that individuals were born as leaders. Now, based on many experiences, I have shifted my thoughts and believe that effective leaders are made, not born. Anyone can be a leader, regardless of their position. If you have the desire and willpower, you can cultivate effective leadership skills. For really solid team results, it’s important for everyone on the team to remember that the captain and assistant captain are not the only leaders in the group. It is important for you, as a player, to step up and lead your line by showing your vision, drive, and commitment. There could be 10 or 15 leaders in the room, depending on how many players have the desire and commitment to lead. Although every player has the potential to be a leader, it is up to each person to make that choice. Some players may simply not have the motivation, passion, or drive to fulfill a leadership responsibility.
AN EXAMPLE OF LEADERSHIP
A great leader in my life has been Hayley Wickenheiser. I’ve been blessed to be able to
play on a team with an Olympic gold medalist and Captain of the Canadian Women’s
Olympic hockey team, and it has been such a rewarding experience. Hayley has
taught me a lot about leadership—not just on the ice, but off it as well. On the ice, she is
so motivating and everyone follows her by example. She models the behavior she
expects from her team, and does not expect anything from others unless she can do it
herself first. I believe that every good leader is always searching for opportunities to innovate, grow, and improve as an individual. As Head Instructor at Power Plus my goal is to strengthen leadership within Canada’s hockey community by inspiring others to develop their own leadership. If you are in a leadership role in your hockey community, I urge you to commit to developing leadership in yourself and those around you. The more players you have who are committed to leadership, the more they will motivate one another, and the more successful your team will be.