A primary aim of my research to date has been to examine transformational leader integrity within performance environments (primarily sport) and ultimately, develop an indirect measure of transformational leadership integrity. In undertaking this research, a number of tentative implications for practice have emerged.
The first implication for practice pertains to coach education; specifically, how the coach’s attitudes influence the coaching environment they create. By engaging with and introspecting on their automatic attitudes towards transformational leadership integrity, coaches may be able to use this information to create a more ethical, supportive, inspirational and stimulating coaching environment. Relevant sports governing bodies may also wish to incorporate this message and consider integrating transformational leadership integrity training into their various training programmes. Essentially, such a programme should attempt to instil the characteristics associated with true transformational leadership (i.e., ethical, honest, considerate, supportive etc.), making coaches aware of their responsibilities as a role model.
By default, coaches are placed in control of a group of individuals, many of which are young and impressionable. Yet for a proportion of clubs across the United Kingdom, the only requirement to fulfil the role of coach is some knowledge of the sport in which they operate. While this is undoubtedly important, it should be a secondary consideration behind the character of the person and their appropriateness as a role model. As such, it is suggested that broader transformational leadership training that teaches coaches of the importance of not only leading with integrity, but also ways of communicating inspirational and motivational messages to their players, considering their players’ needs, setting high, but attainable performance expectations, and encouraging teamwork within the group be included. Coaches should also be encouraged to offer greater autonomy to their players and intellectually stimulate those they lead to solve problems rather than expect answers.
The final implication of my research applies to both academic and applied practitioners. While completing my PhD it became increasingly apparent that indirect measures of automatic attitudes are complimentary to direct measures of deliberate attitudes. When combined, dual process approaches may facilitate researchers with the tools required to predict future behaviour based on more than the fallible reports of what has gone before. As such, automatic attitudes open up a plethora of new opportunities to researchers and practitioners, who may wish to develop interventions that move beyond behaviour and into the antecedent cognitive processes, which occur before the behaviour is displayed, perceived and subsequently reported upon.automatic deliberate dual process Ethics explicit implicit sport