While visiting the National Aquatics Center, IONAD NAISIUNTA UISCE, in Dublin, Ireland, students from the Center for Sport Leadership at VCU observed the 2012 Olympic time trials for the Irish swim team. They also had the opportunity to listen to the Director of the Aquatics Center, David Conway. He talked about how the Aquatics Center was built, including funding sources for the construction of the complex, revenue generation, the politics involved, and the economic benefits, as well as other benefits to the Dublin community and the surrounding region.
During his talk, David referred to the management of a large sports complex as an “iceberg”, meaning that there is much more to it than what meets the eye. I suppose this is true for many things in life, but his comment made me think of how we prepare ourselves for leadership roles in general and that there is much more to leadership than what meets the eye.
We see examples of leadership all around us but it is the constant learning, preparation, and practice that provides the strength of great Leadership. We must constantly work on our own leadership foundation at all times to remain strong and relevant leaders. We need to continue to improve upon our leadership foundation to remain strong because, just like an iceberg, the strength of the leadership is what lies below the surface.
There are many examples of leaders who fail to live up to expectations and this seems to be especially true in the sports world. A recent example is of failed leadership is Coach Petrino, the head football coach from Arkansas who was fired for having an affair with his twenty-five year old office assistant. Everything that he ever accomplished as a leader was destroyed with one bad decision and he will probably never be able to rebuild himself as a leader, at least not to the level he was before being exposed.
In the Center for Sport Leadership, we teach our future sport leaders that there is no such thing as a part-time membership to the “Leadership Club”. A leader must consistently display his/her prominent leadership qualities above the surface at all times and in all aspects of life. It is the leadership foundation, however, the area below the surface that contains the true strength of all of us and we must always work on this area so that we don’t make poor choices that will destroy what people see above the surface.