Leadership Attributes and Competences of the Young Adult Female Athlete

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TITLE Leadership Attributes and Competences of the Young Adult Female Athlete
Department of Business Management and Leadership
University of La Verne (California)
Unpublished master’s thesis: March 2006

The purpose of this study was to explore the development of leadership attributes and competences in young adult female athletes; namely to see if participation in team sports contributes to leadership development.

Participants were female athletes from a Division One California State University, ranging in age from 18 to the early twenties. Fifty-three responded by completing the Student version of the Leadership Practices Inventory (71% response rate). Two focus groups, with five members each, were also conducted after data collection.

“In reviewing the data from the survey and focus groups, the researcher found evidence that participation in team sports fosters leadership development in females” (p. 59). Treating others with dignity and respect was the most frequently engaged in leadership behavior (Enabling), followed by praises people for a job well done (Encouraging), follows through on promises and commitments (Modeling), upbeat and positive when talking about what our organization is doing (Inspiring), shows enthusiasm and excitement about the team (Inspiring), and tells others about the group’s work (Encouraging). The author claims that since “these behaviors fall in all five of the different leadership behavior categories…this would show evidence of leadership in not just one or a few, but rather all dimensions among the student athletes under study” (p. 64).