Sunday, March 23, 2014

How to be a better leader.

Yes we can.
Derby, much like any other activity, needs leaders; I have dabbled in leadership during my tie in derby. I've captained here and there, coached when needed, but this year I've stepped up to be on our league's board. It's a whole, different world. Being in a leadership position isn't always easy, but it's a lot easier if you can follow some simple guidelines.

1. Do what you say, say what you do. In other words, be a role model for the league. If you want skaters to have better attendance, then you need to have great attendance yourself. Want skaters to cross train? You'd better be out there cross training and inviting people to do it with you. Show up to the fund raisers, and do everything you can to improve your league. Lead by example.

2. Communicate. Be sure you are communicating your goals to the league effectively. Sometimes this means through email, which can be its own pitfall, or in meetings. Make sure your communication is a two way street too, you have to be a good listener if you're going to be in leadership.

3.  Motivate others. If you can't motivate others to rise to roles of leadership in your league, you shouldn't be in a leadership position. Train leaders to replace you, because remember, derby is all about making stronger women and men.....right? If I can motivate others to become leaders, I know my league will be in good shape when I step down from my position.

4. Take responsibility. Sometimes you're going to hate being in a leadership position, because you're ultimately responsible for shit slipping through the cracks, missed deadlines, or just general discomfort or unhappiness in the league. You're also going to have to step up and make big decisions too; if you're on the Board of Directors, sometimes you have to deal with a last minute crisis, or as a captain, you have to pick a difficult roster. If you aren't willing to own your decision in the light of public scrutiny, then you shouldn't be making that decision.

5. Be consistent. It's harder than you think. People are watching you, and they're seeing if you handle everything with the same care. Don't cut corners, don't burn bridges, and don't play favorites.

6. Delegate. Being in a leadership position comes with a hell of a lot of responsibilities, and there's only one of you. Delegate and spread the wealth. This not only makes your job easier, but it also helps people take on responsibility, which once again helps form leaders.

7. Be organized. This one is hard for a chaotic individual like myself, but being organized certainly pays off. As training director this year, I've set up calendars in Google so I won't let deadlines fall through the cracks. As a regular skater, I often lived in the land of clueless person. I can't afford to do that anymore....which cramps my personal style btw.

8. Be passionate. If you aren't passionate about the job you're doing for the league, don't do it. I love training; I love talking about drills, and where the league is going. It's my passion. If you don't feel this strongly about doing the job you've been elected to do, then don't run for it.

9. Recognize people's contributions. Make sure people know what they do is important. Also, cookies are good for saying "Thank you!"

10. Have integrity. This guideline pretty much reinforces all the of the others so far.

11. Be courageous. Sometimes being in a leadership position means you have to make difficult calls and sometimes you have to take risks. If you're too cautious you might miss out on some great opportunities.

12. Don't take it personally, even when it's meant to be personal. When you step into a position of leadership, you have to put you personal feelings into a jar and put them away while you're doing your leadership stuff. Sometimes people will attack you on a personal level, and as a leader, you have to ignore it; you have to rise above it and keep your personal feelings out of it. Go home and curse them under your breath....but don't allow your emotions to overrun your logic and your good judgement.

Well, the guidelines are simple to write and read, but sometimes they're hard to follow. You're going to screw up, but keep on fighting the good fight!


  1. I love this, and really needed it today, your timing is impeccable!

  2. I am reading this late but it couldnt have come at a better time :)