Leave A Legacy: 3 Qualities of An Influential Leader

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Leave A Legacy: 3 Qualities of An Influential Leader

During practice, she swims hard. She’s focused, but still has fun. She watches her teammates with no judgment. When it comes time for “off the block racing,” she is the first out of the pool cheering her teammates on. She doesn’t just cheer to cheer. She cheers because she believes in her team.

She is a leader.

After a bad practice, he doesn’t ask questions. He understands. Instead of rehashing the missed time cycles or failed breathing sets, he mentions tomorrow’s practice. He mentions the ample opportunities there will be to improve. He focuses on the positive and learns from the negative.

He is a leader.

They make time for their teammates. They sit with the freshmen. They ask how the interview or exam went. They care. They do not ask to come over and visit. They just show up. They know more than your name and where you’re from. They know your story. If they don’t know it, they do everything they can to learn it. They want a team unlike others. They want a team that can be considered a family.

The difference between a good team and a great team: LEADERSHIP

Accountability. Passion. Compassion.

You don’t have to be the oldest on the team to be a leader. You don’t even have to be the fastest. The best leaders have a love of the sport that shows in and out of the pool. They’re the ones more concerned about their teammates success than their own. You spot them by their work ethic. They show up, physically and mentally every day. They take care of the team.

Leadership is key to a successful team. Leaders encompass qualities that help their team grow as swimmers and as people.  The best leaders embrace these qualities.

1. Accountability

W&M Boxing; leader

Photo Courtesy: Josh Huger

At practice, no matter what. Missing club meetings or study sessions in order to be with the team. Showing up and showing well. The best leaders are the hardest workers. They set an example. A leader is someone who knows that in order to help others, they need to be at their best. Leaders make themselves accountable and hold others accountable. Doing so, they have the ability to encourage others and push others because they have pushed themselves. The most successful leaders are the ones who don’t need words to get a point across. Their actions and work ethic are enough to show a fellow teammate the way to success.

2. Passion

Cullen Jones

For the sport. For their teammates. For their team. They swim because they love it. They swim because they want to win. They swim for the teammate a lane over struggling to finish the set. Passion seeps through their skin more than chlorine during a two-mile run. Leaders with passion remind the team why they’re putting in all the countless hours of training. They remind the team that they’re not in it alone. A leader uses “we” more than “I.” Successful leaders make swimming fun, even on the toughest days. A great leader reminds the team of the final goal and makes the process of getting there a journey one will never forget.

3. Compassion

Photo Courtesy: Hayley Good

Photo Courtesy: Hayley Good

There is more to swimming than actually swimming. Leaders understand that being an athlete means balance, and some day’s life feels like the axis is slightly tilted. Great leaders are concerned with how their teammates are doing. A leader strives to keep their teammates attitudes high, while still understanding that there will be low days. A great leader can be a listener and a person to go to for advice. The best leaders have the kindest hearts. They want their teammates to be healthy and happy and to be doing what they love. With compassion and endless concern for their teammates, the best leaders can work well with anyone.

A successful team is a team full of leaders. In the future, when you you look back on your swimming days, you want to be able to say that you were a big part of the team. Work to influence others with your actions. Create the team you want to be on and represent it well.

Strive to be a leader. Give the team your heart and be the best you can be everyday. Leave a legacy.