An investigation of preferred coach and athlete leader transformational leadership behaviours


Coaches and athlete leaders are two integral sources of leadership in teams. As explained by the Full Range Model of Leadership (Avolio, 1999), the most active and effective form of leadership is transformational leadership. Transformational leadership is the process of a leader encouraging their followers to act beyond their own self-interests and develop into leaders (Burns, 1978). While transformational leadership has been shown to result in positive team outcomes (Price & Weiss, 2013), less is known about athletes' preferences regarding how coaches and athlete leaders display transformational leadership. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare preferences for transformational athlete leadership and coach behaviours. Kinesiology students with previous sport experience (N = 193) rated their preferences for transformational leadership behaviours using coach and athlete leader versions of Differentiated Transformational Leadership Inventory (Callow et al., 2009). The results from a repeated measures MANOVA showed a significant difference in preferences for athlete leadership behaviours and coach behaviours, F(7, 186) = 21.93, p < .001; Wilk's ? = .554; partial ?2 = .446. Specifically, participants reported a preference for coaches to exhibit individualized consideration (p < .001), inspirational motivation (p < .001), intellectual stimulation (p < .001), fostering acceptance of group goals (p < .001), high performance expectations (p = .015), and appropriate role modeling (p < .001), more frequently than athlete leaders. The present findings extend our understanding of how athletes prefer the leaders on their team to demonstrate transformational leadership behaviours.