The social identity approach to leadership is the approach I focused on for my PhD and I’ve been doing a lot of work within this area. Ultimately social identity leadership is a contemporary approach to understanding leadership, that focuses on the importance of developing a strong sense of togetherness between the coach and the athletes as the foundation of leadership effectiveness, as the foundation of being able to harness the motivations and mobilizations of our team to go out there and give the role for the group.
There’s four principles of social identity leadership, as shown in the model. I’m just going to go through each of these principles briefly, in turn. So, the first principle is to do with representing the group and this is a leader that embodies the values of the group. They’ve served their apprenticeship well with the group, they understand what makes us special and distinct and they embody those values and those aspirations with their behaviour.
The second principle of social identity leadership is to do with being a champion of the group and this is where a leader acts completely and exclusively in the group’s interests. They don’t focus on personal interests or personal promotions or where they may go in the future. They make their decisions and they drive their actions through the group’s interests and ultimately is championing the group in everything that they do.
The third principle is about being an entrepreneur of the group and this is about being inclusive, including all group members, it’s about involving all… it’s also about being able to mobilize the group by positioning ideas that fit with the group. They demonstrate how we are going to move forward as a group and move towards the vision that we might have as a group and it’s about being an entrepreneur in that way.
Finally, the fourth principle is embedding for the group. This is about organizing activities, putting on events that allow us as a team to live out our vision in reality, to live out our values in the real world, to make progress and achieve the collective vision that we’ve demonstrated and want to achieve. For example, if our values are about high-performance he/she might be arranging visits to high-performing teams to see other facilities in other countries, to see how they do things around high performance. So, you might think for a moment and reflect to on the extent to which you do each of these four principles within your leadership practice.