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Leadership lessons from a coxswain

Posted by / May 10, 2011


Crew is a unique sport. Even if you put eight of the world’s strongest guys in a boat and teach them to row, they’re useless without a coxswain. The coxswain steers the boat, makes sure everybody is rowing in sync, and motivates the crew. It’s a tough job, and a gold mine for leadership lessons. The blog Thought Leaders LLC extracts some of those lessons. Here is just one:

Being small doesn’t mean being weak
Coxswains are physically tiny. Like *really* tiny. That said, they’re usually the strongest member of the team in terms of leadership and direction. They have to get four or eight other highly-accomplished athletes rowing in perfect synchronicity. They also have to lead all team movements from the boat trailer to rigging to launch to recovery. A coxswain is always performing some leadership task to get the team to its destination safely and in a winning way.

No matter your physical presence or your tenure with the organization, do you take full control of the team at all times? Do your words and action carry weight for your team and get them moving in the right direction? Regardless of stature (physical or organizational) remember your team looks to you for leadership. Get over any hang-ups or insecurities then step up and lead.

Full story at Thought Leaders LLC.

More leadership lessons.

Photo credit: Fotolia

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  • amy coxswain

    Skills I learned as an 18 year old conxswain to teams of rowers, all older and bigger than me, have been used throughout my life. I have used those skills as manager, a lawyer, a neighbor, and as a spouse. And I believe that my leadership training began at 5 AM in the back of a shell.

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