Leadership is the most studied subject matter in industry. There have been thousands upon thousands of studies conducted on the traits that “all” great leaders possess. Of course, not every leader is cut from the same cloth, which is what most of the academic research inevitably concludes. Even within disciplines (like rights holders, sports commissions, convention bureaus, or national governing bodies) there are numerous styles of leadership that have proven successful.
If you have worked with Huddle Up Group in the past, you will know that we build our recommendations and activation plans around what we call the “Powers of Three.” We present our clients with three major initiatives, with no more than three action items for each initiative. We believe that in nearly all cases, focusing on more than three deeply rooted strategies will lead to diluted efforts (and results) in too many areas. Most often, by taking action in the three areas that need the most attention, all of the small issues disappear over time. Limit the areas of emphasis, stay focused, and increase positive results.
Applying the Powers of Three concept to the vast subject of leadership could lead to a very diverse list of responses. We offer our view here. Our opinion on the three most important traits for great leadership in the sports tourism and events industry include:
1. Collaboration – We believe that teamwork and the ability to work with others is THE single most important trait to successful leadership. If you are reading this publication, you likely work in sports tourism and events. Our industry is a team activity. There is no place on earth where collaboration is more important than in sports, whether in a team game or in hosting a national championship.
2. Passion – If you don’t have a passion for what you are doing, try something else. Leading anything with a lack of enthusiasm is difficult, even for the most accomplished professionals. Most people punch the clock every day to go to jobs that they look upon as a way to make a living. We have the opportunity every day to work in and around sport. The mere fact that we get paid to do things others would volunteer to do is proof that we are truly blessed to work in this industry. Bring passion to your work and make the most of every opportunity to lead.
3. Positivity – Okay, so “positivity” isn’t a real word, but we all know it when we see it. Having a positive attitude towards a person’s surroundings, especially when things look dire, serves as a great example to those around us. Who do you want to lead your organization/event/team when the chips are down? When things get tough, do you want the person who sulks or becomes a negative influence, or do you want the person who smiles and says, “We can do this, let’s go”? It’s a rhetorical question, but I’d suggest you choose the latter option.
Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch once said, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” No matter where you are in life’s leadership continuum, you are either being impacted by others or mentoring someone yourself. And it’s likely that you are doing both simultaneously. While Welch offers great perspective, we believe we are all leaders and followers -- at the same time.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking “I’m not the director (or CEO) so I don’t lead anyone.” We all lead someone, even if that is only oneself. So whether you subscribe to our proposed Powers of Three, or to Jack Welch, or to one of the thousands of other leadership models, one thing is certain: we have the ability to lead those around us in a very positive way. Sometimes you may realize that you are leading others, sometimes you might not. But we must all be cognizant that our actions speak on our behalf. Working well with others, showing great passion, and exhibiting superior enthusiasm are but three ways to lead. You have your own style, your own Powers of Three. Identify them, enhance them, unleash them, lead with them.