Fletcher, D., & Arnold, R. (2011). A qualitative study of performance leadership and management in elite sport. Journal of applied sport psychology, 23(2), 223-242.
by Rachel Webb
This particular study is made up of a collection of interviews with the aim to understand the best practices for leadership and management in elite sports, particularly focusing of directors of Olympic sports (Fletcher & Arnold, 2011). It has become very apparent through research and interviews alike that it is important for any organization to share the same beliefs, perceptions, and expectations of goals that they want to achieve as a unit and those aspects are necessary to reach a high level of competitiveness in sports. There are multiple theoretical approaches and perspective that are used in tandem with sport psychology such as organizational psychology where they use situational, social exchange, behavioral, style, and leader effectiveness perspective in the approach to understanding performance leadership. This article provides a brief summarization and exploration of a few key approaches used in organizational psychology that aligned with the aim to understand management as it coincides with leadership. In the leadership aspect of literature, there has been a number of styles discovered such as dictatorial, autocratic, participative, and laissez faire among numerous others discussed in the study. These styles support or hinder the ability of effective leadership skills and many of these approaches have linked a variety of these leadership skills to the effectiveness of management as well. This linkage has highlighted the similarities between leadership and management effectiveness, supporting further research in how to treat these roles in a similar approach to elicit the most success in elite sports.
The purpose of this study was to investigate performance leadership and management in elite sport, specifically looking at the best practice for not only leading but also managing elite teams prior to Olympic competitions. The most profound conclusion that can be drawn from the evidence-based information provided is that “leading and managing elite sport teams is a multifaceted phenomenon involving the development of a vision, the management of operations, the leadership of people, and the creation of culture”. These four main issues that were identified are aimed to help leaders and management to disseminate their vision, optimize the process of learning, challenge the people they are instructing, and facilitate the transformation of individuals’ attitudes and group cohesion in order to maintain the highest level of performance in their teams. Future areas of development are encouraged to expand the scope of sport psychology by incorporating the knowledge of management and organizational psychology in order to enhance the service delivery of leadership and management in elite sport organizations.