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Harnessing the power of ‘us’: a randomized wait-list controlled trial of the 5R Shared Leadership Development Program (5RS) in basketball teams
journal contributionposted on 29.03.2021, 10:39 by Niels Mertens, Filip Boen, Niklas K. Steffens, S. Alexander Haslam, Mark Bruner, Jamie Barker, Matthew J. Slater, Katrien Fransen
High-quality leadership has been established as a key factor driving a team's competitive advantage. Besides the role of the coach, recent research has emphasized the importance of leadership provided by athletes within a team (i.e., athlete leaders). To unlock the potential benefits of athlete leadership, the development of leaders is therefore essential. The 5R Shared Leadership Program (5RS) aims to identify promising leaders within a team, on different athlete leadership roles, both on and off the field. After the appointment of the leaders, their identity leadership skills to build and strengthen a sense of ‘we’ and ‘us’ are further developed. The design of the present research consisted of a randomized wait-list controlled trial to test the effectiveness of a train-the-trainer approach to develop shared leadership within teams (i.e., 5RS). We tracked 16 competitive basketball teams throughout a competitive season. While eight teams (four female and four male teams) received 5RS during the first half of the season (i.e., experimental condition), the other eight teams received 5RS during the second half of the season (i.e., wait-list control condition). Our findings highlight 5RS's capacity to develop athlete leaders' ability to create a shared sense of ‘us’, build a stronger team identification, enhance the available social support in the team, help players to remain motivated and confident in their team's abilities, and nurture players' health. Moreover, 5RS appeared to achieve this impact by using a train-the-trainer approach, regardless of whether the intervention was delivered during the first or second half of the season, and with generally consistent findings amongst male and female teams. The present study both advances the current field on in-group leadership development, and provides practitioners with guidance on how and when to apply 5RS with the aim of improving team functioning and athletes' health.
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- Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences