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Kathryn Laschinger

Characteristics of an Effective Leader: Perspectives of Team Captains at an All-Girls Private High School

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The purpose of the study was to explore what team captains of athletic teams at an all-girls private high school perceive to be characteristics of a good leader. Secondarily, it strove to discover how the team captains exhibit these qualities in their actions as leaders. The study was conducted through semi-structured interviews with two varsity volleyball and two varsity field hockey team captains and their respective head and assistant coaches. Two individual observations of the team captains during game situations were also performed. The observations of the team captains revealed that they accurately perceived their leadership styles, which were reflected through their actions on the field/court. Also, while some characteristics that they highlighted as indicators of a good leader were very evident during the games (e.g., being vocal, aggressiveness, confidence), others that they deemed important to female teams (e.g., people skills, sensitivity, relationship building skills) were not as noticeable. In addition, the team captains at an all-girls private high school did not feel pressure from existing stereotypes regarding females in leadership positions. Rather, they felt comfortable adjusting their leadership styles to best suit the needs of their all female teams.

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