Maintaining Leadership & Inspiring Dreams

By Jessica Pogue, Student-Athlete, Greensboro College

Leadership is the ability to inspire confidence and support among the people who are needed to achieve organizational goals. A leader with good values is visionary, inspiring, innovative, and passionate. Leadership is important, and maintaining leadership through a tough breakdown or set back in the ultimate goal can sometimes be the “make it or break it” point in a team. My personal experience is an example.

As a senior captain of a lacrosse team, I experienced the loss of our head coach two weeks before the start of our season. This is where I knew my leadership had to be the strongest to keep the team together and in a positive frame of mind. When a team is at their lowest, a leader should be there to boost confidence and show that we must all work that much harder to accomplish our goals.

In order to keep the team optimistic, I needed to employ leadership effectiveness. Leadership effectiveness refers to attaining desirable outcomes such as productivity, quality, and satisfaction in a given time. Although productivity has to come individually from each member of the team, the leader must be engaged to assure that individual team members remain positive and maintain their focus on the ultimate goal; in our case, it was to win our division. As leader of my team, I was able to be there for my team both physically and emotionally. I could not let anyone lose sight of our goal, knowing that we needed each other even more in this tough time.

When our assistant coach was brought up to head coach, there were many mixed feelings about the change. As a leader, I knew I had to make sure everyone accepted the change and moved forward. Having a team of girls depending on you and looking up to you definitely put a weight on my shoulders, but as a leader, I accepted the challenge to maintain the competence and focus, the commitment and courage to bolster everyone’s belief that we could succeed.

At times I had to be both the enforcer and the empathizer. When one teammate needed a voice to say that we will make it and we will come out on top, I had to step up to listen to her doubts and make her feel confident in herself and in myself as a leader. I learned that my enforcement and encouragement on and off the field pushed each teammate to be the better player when it came to game time. In the end, our team came together as a whole and put faith in our new coach to take us forward.

Being a leader is not just a title that signifies one is in charge. Being a leader means you must carry your team to the top. There’s always going to be one or two coaches of the team, but when certain players take on the role of leader and stand up and take control, a team has much more power to take on the season. As the leader and captain of my team, I will exhibit the confidence and determination to get us to our ultimate goal: division title.

Not everyone has the ability to be the leader, but those with this ability can transfer it into many aspects of life. This experience has taught me that life’s obstacles can be used to better yourself and others. After successfully leading my team through this obstacle, I believe I can be a leader in future business opportunities and use my skills and strengths to make not only the dreams of others come true, but also mine. Great leadership will take any team or any organization to the top; someone should always stand up and take control and never let interference, large or small, ruin your dreams.

Jessica Pogue is a senior at Greensboro College in Greensboro, N.C. She wrote this blog as an assignment for her leadership course. “With my article, I would like to express to people what it is to be a leader and how I was able to take my team to the top after losing our coach right before the start of our season. My goal is to inspire others to take a stand as a leader and understand what it takes to lead an entire team.”