4 Characteristics That Define a Great Leader

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4 Characteristics That Define a Great Leader

Sports grow athletes into extraordinary people and strong leaders. As a swimmer, you learn leadership qualities and skills that you will carry with you for the rest of your life. All teams have leaders, but great leaders are the people who make a difference. Leaders set the tone for their team. They hold themselves and their teammates accountable, they are motivational, they create a positive team environment and they always serve as an example for what is to be expected. Read along to learn more about the virtues that it takes to be a great leader.


A positive team environment is crucial, especially during practices and competitions. If people walk into practice with a negative or mopey attitude, it is likely that their mood will rub off on their teammates. Leaders are the people who everybody looks up to. They make it their priority to remain positive and motivational for their team, even when they aren’t having the best day. As an athlete, it is important to learn how to separate the outside world from the pool. Great leaders are able to put their baggage in the past so that they can come into practice with a fresh mindset, focused on what is important in that moment. Leaders aren’t perfect. In fact, they have their fair share of bad days, too. The way that they handle those days is what separates the good from the great.

Lead by Example

The swimmers who are respectful, always make the right choices, do the right things and generally care about their team and sport, are the people who tend to be great leaders. Setting an example, especially for younger team members, goes such a long way. Leaders have the ability to mold a team into what they should be. Leading by example allows leaders to create a team culture that is necessary for camaraderie and success. Teams can achieve great things when they work together and are all on the same page. Leaders make decisions that are best for the team as a whole, which might not always be what everybody wants or likes. Great leaders aren’t afraid to make the hard decisions if it means that they are putting their team in the best position possible to thrive and succeed.


Communication is a vital trait to have no matter what role you play. As a leader, it is important to know how to communicate with different individuals, as one way might work better for one person over another. Open communication promotes an atmosphere of honesty and trust between yourself and your teammates, as well as fostering deeper and more meaningful relationships. Great leaders will take the time to learn and understand the most effective ways to communicate with their teammates so that trust and bonds can be built.


In the sport of swimming, it is not always easy to hold yourself accountable to your highest standard. Swimming is a year-round sport, leaving little time to rest your mind and body from the never-ending training regime. Some people are capable of pushing themselves to their full potential for various reasons. Many swimmers stay motivated because of their goals, while some train hard because they just really love their sport. Great leaders not only hold themselves accountable, but they know how to hold their teammates accountable, too. Leaders will push their teammates when they know that they have more gas left in the tank because they want to see them work hard to succeed. If that means they need to give them some words of wisdom or tough love, they will. Great leaders will say the things that need to be said, but it all comes from a place of love because they truly care about each individual.

It takes many valuable qualities and skills to encompass great leadership. Leaders want the best for their team. Leaders are fearless, brave, motivated and positive. They strive to set the best example that they can for their team, in hopes that their teammates follow in their footsteps. Many people work hard to master these skills, but it will come natural for the greatest leaders.

And these traits will

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