5 Characteristics of a Good Leader
There is no greater honor in the game of hockey than wearing that big “C” or “A” on your chest. Being a captain or assistant captain means that your coaches and teammates have deemed you worthy of leading them on the ice. These two letters are not the only thing that designates hockey leadership though. You can see leadership qualities all over the rink from all types of players when you look for it.
For young players, especially ones who want to be designated a captain someday, identifying and studying the characteristics of good hockey leadership is important. No matter what the role on the team, if a player displays these characteristics, they will become a natural leader and earn the respect of their fellow players and coaches. Here are 5 characteristics that great hockey leader possesses.
1. Puts the team first.
The first, and probably most important thing a leader does to display hockey leadership is to put the team first. They do not focus on individual goals or their own stats, they focus on team goals. They focus on winning games and winning trophies and making their teammates better. To be a true leader you have to put your own accomplishments aside and take pride in their team doing well no matter what their stat line is. This is the mark of a true leader.
In the game of hockey, things will go wrong. The team will lose. You will make mistakes and have bad games. Your teammates will do the same. How you react to this is what will determine how good a leader you are. If you react poorly, get down on yourself, or lash out at teammates, you will never be a great leader. If you have a positive attitude and project that attitude no matter how things are going on the ice, teammates and coaches will respect that and act positively as well. This will create a winning atmosphere in the team.
Anyone can talk and talk but many who do never really say all that much. It is not the loudest voice in the room that people look to as the leader, it is the person who says the most important things. Speaking up at important times and saying what needs to be said in the moment is important. Talking just to hear your voice and thinking that people will respond to that is not.
Leaders show up every day. They show up, in the same way, every day, on and off the ice. They put in the same work and have the same attitude every day. The hard work, intensity, and focus they bring to the first day of training camp is the same stuff they bring to Game 7 of the championship series. Leading by example by being consistent in all you do in the game is true hockey leadership.
5. Shows no fear.
The best leaders are unafraid, on and off the ice. They are willing to do the dirty work on the boards, in the corners, and in front of the nets. Off the ice, they are not afraid of hard work, tough coaching, or saying what needs to be said when times get tough. This doesn’t mean you can’t be nervous before big games or anything like that but, as the old saying goes, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”. That is how a hockey leader operates.
There is no one type of hockey leadership. It comes in all forms, shapes, and sizes. It can come from the player with the big C on their chest or from the last man on the bench. And, just like you can train your skills, you can also train these hockey leadership characteristics to become a better leader every day!