Theories and Concepts of an AD - Essay Sample

Published: 2024-01-03
Theories and Concepts of an AD - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Leadership analysis Management School Sport
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1704 words
15 min read


Athletics directors are given the mandate of overseeing all the athletic activities in their given institutions. Their job includes hiring coaches, ordering team equipment, and planning for athletic events and meetings (Lee, 2019). Athletic directors should possess the skills to allocate funds to athletic activities and facilitate athletic operations. The current paper discusses athletic directors and the leadership skills to effectively run athletic activities in middle schools, high schools, and colleges.

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An athletic director is responsible for organizing fundraising events for their team. Also, the athletic directors should have the ability to guide students in athletic activities. Furthermore, athletic directors collaborate with school coaches to plan and establish schools’ athletic timetables (Lee, 2019). Besides,, the athletic directors plan for practice sessions such that there is no conflict in terms of practicing time and equipment for different teams that use the same facilities for training such as the school gym.

Transformational Leadership by Athletic Directors

Transformational leadership theory gets considered one of the important theories in sports leadership (Kovach, 2018). Athletic directors who adopt this leadership theory usually put their followers' needs, emotions, and motives before their own. In the sporting industry, change is always inevitable (Kovach, 2018). This is because there is a need for continued survival and the ability to adapt to the sporting industry, which changes every day. Every year, the rules in the sporting industry get revised; thus, they change. With more transformational leaders, organizations can establish a sporting environment open to continuing changes (Kovach, 2018). With the adaptation of changes in the sporting industry, organizations record positive outcomes.

Athletic directors need to have the ability to adapt to change (Kovach, 2018). In all industries, including sports, change is unavoidable. However, many leaders fear change because it affects the normal routine, and it also brings about uncertainty in leadership. However, the adaptation of change can increase the chances of organizations' success in the sporting industry. The first step to change is for the leaders not to oppose change, but rather embrace it (Kovach, 2018). Another step for leaders is for them to acknowledge change positively. Communication is the final step to acknowledging and embracing change in any industry, including the sporting industry. Effective communication between athletic directors, the players, staff such as coaches, and the institutions' administration helps in organizations' success in sports (Kovach, 2018). Studies have shown that transformational leadership leads to many positive results in organizations. Such le=results include job satisfaction and commitment by the followers. The availability of many transformational leaders in sports increases organizations' effectiveness and also lowers time turnover.

Transformational leadership brings about motivation to followers and increases followers' numbers (Kovach, 2018). Successful athletic directors are both inspiring and appealing. They motivate their staff, including coaches, and their players to work hard and aim for the best. The leaders can solve problems while listening to their followers (Kovach, 2018). Transformational athletic directors get to know their followers personally because by so doing, the organization gets to succeed.

Situation Leadership Style by Athletic Directors

As the name suggests, situational leadership involves leaders adapting to different leadership styles concerning the situation and the capability of their followers (Bowden & McCauley, 2016). The leadership theory is effective as it adapts to the team's needs, therefore bringing benefits to the organization as a whole. The theory further consists of two behavior leadership levels, which include management and support (Bowden & McCauley, 2016). Management enables the athletic director to focus on task definition. This includes the establishment of how the team will perform tasks. The focus part involves focusing on developing the team as a whole and ensuring that all team members can participate in the team's activities (Bowden & McCauley, 2016). Additionally, support encourages the motivation of the players and also provides cohesion in the team.

Situational leadership theory can further be divided into four different behavior styles of leadership. They include telling, selling, advising, and delegating (Bowden & McCauley, 2016). In the telling, the athletics director is responsible for giving clear and concise instructions to the team members. The leader has to ensure that the followers understand what is expected of them at the start. At the second level of selling, the athletic director must involve all stakeholders in the decision making process, whereby they give their suggestions (Bowden & McCauley, 2016). However, the athletic director makes the final decision. In advising, athletic directors encourage team members to work hard and smart (Bowden & McCauley, 2016). Finally, athletic directors should have the ability to delegate duties to every team member.

Maturity Levels

Situational leadership can further be divided into maturity levels. The right leadership by athletic directors also depends on the group of people that the athletics director leads. The groups can get divided into low, medium, and high maturity levels (Bowden & McCauley, 2016). In the institutions' case, the groups can be divided into medium schools, high schools, and colleges. Athletic directors manage the three different organizational levels differently.

For medium schools, the team members lack the precise skills required for athletic competitions (Bowden & McCauley, 2016). However, the team members are usually enthusiastic and willing to work hard to perfect their skills. In high schools, the teams can either be capable of performing but unwilling. This category consists of individuals who have the experience but lack the will to perform. Also, in the high school level, the team members can be confident but cannot perform (Bowden & McCauley, 2016). In this category, team members can have the ability to participate in athletic activities but lack enough motivation. The final level is the college level, whereby participants in the level are very capable. At the college level, the team members have enough experience, are comfortable participating in the activities, and have the will to participate in athletics (Bowden & McCauley, 2016). Therefore for the above different levels, there will be changes in the styles of leadership.

Skills and Abilities

To become a good athletic director, they require exceptional skills in organizing, leading, and planning (Lee, 2019). Additionally, having a good background in legal matters and public relations is another added advantage for an athletic director. In middle school and high schools, interpersonal skills are important since concerns may arise from the school board or the parents, questioning the need to allocate funds to the sports department.

Natural leadership and the ability to work under pressure are other important skills that enable athletic directors to prosper in their careers (Lee, 2019). This is because there are deadlines that they should meet to submit their budget and place orders for the equipment required for athletic activities. The athletic directors must meet the given timeframe to allow for the approval of their requests. Often, the athletic directors answer to the principals of their host school, or sometimes they can answer directly to the board of directors in the school.

Needed Leadership Traits of Athletic Directors

Leaders' role is to make their followers feel better through motivating them and providing direction for them to follow (Paitson, 2016). Additionally, athletic directors should have the ability to bring their team together in arguments and conflicts. Leadership varies with every leader, and therefore as a good athletic director, one should possess the leadership traits discussed below.


Effective leaders should have the ability to hire good people. The individuals that athletic directors hire have a significant impact on their teams (Paitson, 2016). Deciding on the suitable person to ruin different athletics department programs is one of the determinants of the team's success. However, a good leader should not only consider qualifications, for there are other important factors such as attitude (Paitson, 2016). For every athletic director, understanding people and making decisions about them based on intuition is vital for their success.

Communication Skills

Since athletic directors' job involves dealing with different people, the ability to talk or write to them is vital (Paitson, 2016). Every person has different views and needs, and therefore knowing how to communicate with each of them effectively is vital for the success of athletic directors. Additionally, athletic directors need to have the ability to listen to questions from stakeholders and answer them efficiently.

Problem Solving

The ability to make the right decisions is hard but also important. One problem that mainly arises is the lack of enough funds to run athletic programs (Paitson, 2016). In this case, the athletic directors must make tough choices on where to allocate the available resources. Additionally, the athletic directors have to analyze each side effectively and make the decisions that will leave most people satisfied.


Hard work is vital for every team member, but athletic directors should put more effort into their work (Paitson, 2016). Additionally, every athletic director should know that having fun is a part of athletics. Athletes in schools involve themselves in athletics because they consider it as a fun activity for them. Therefore, every athletic director should create an environment that is fun and supportive of every student.

Vision and Passion

Every athletic director should have a passion for athletics and understand the impact that athletics has on people's lives. This enables them to know people's needs and what they can do to satisfy them (Paitson, 2016). Additionally, athletic directors should have a vision for their teams and athletics activities at large.


In conclusion, athletic directors are important in every institution. The reason for this is that they help in ensuring that their institutions succeed in athletics. Therefore, athletic directors should possess skills that will enable them to manage athletics programs effectively. Additionally, athletic directors should know about dealing with different athletes, including middle schools, high schools, and colleges. The reason for this is that the different groups are managed differently. Furthermore, establishing a good relationship between the athletic director and the school management, parents, and players can help improve the overall athletics performance of the given institution.


Bowden, R., & McCauley, K. (2016). Leadership Styles of College and University Athletic Directors and the Presence of NCAA Transgender Policy. Journal of Educational Issues, 2(2), 267-289.

Kovach, M. (2018). An examination of leadership theories in business and sport achievement contexts. The Journal of Values-Based Leadership, 11(2), 14.

Lee, Y. H. (2019). Emotional intelligence, servant leadership, and development goal orientation in athletic directors. Sport management review, 22(3), 395-406.

Paitson, D. A. (2016). Assessment of Leadership Traits Required for the Intercollegiate Athletic Director Position (Doctoral dissertation).

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