Question of the Day

As a coxswain, I guess you could say this is my first actual leadership position. I’ve had a little experience with being in charge of activities, but never the safety of a 30 thousand dollar boat … or people. What would you say makes an effective leader? Most people if they are, are born leaders. How would you bring that out of someone, if that’s even possible?

One of the most important parts of being a good leader is being engaged, so be involved with the team. The more involved you are, the more likely people will be to look to you as a “team leader”. Also, be assertive and know the difference between that and just being bossy. Don’t wait to be told to do something either, just step up and do it. The more time you spend on the team and with the coaches the better you’ll be able to anticipate this. In the mean time though, just always be willing to do whatever needs done. If you don’t know how to do something, partner up with someone who does so you can learn.

Related: I was reading on a rowing forum a commenter said that good coxswains are born not made. They can be guided to be successful but not much more than that. Is there any truth to it?

Observe your team captains and what they do, how they act, etc. You can also always ask them or one of the more experienced coxswains for advice on how they’ve become better leaders over the years. Coxing is, in my opinion, 99.9% using your common sense and that alone can go a long way in helping you develop your leadership skills.

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