Effective leadership drives every aspect of a team’s performance. High performing teams have a wide range of players and coaches leading in different situations, at different times, and at different levels. The ultimate goal of leadership is to improve the team, the learning experience, and results for the participants. Leadership development is no longer merely “skill development” combined with experience. Today’s outstanding team leaders are those that are constantly growing and transforming—themselves and others.
Here are seven simple truths that will guide you along your path to becoming a transformational team leader.
Truth #1: Increase Deliberate Acts of Leadership
The best way to create extraordinary results in the most important areas of your leadership is through daily practice. As a leader you are called to action. To become a better leader requires spending time identifying and doing deliberate acts of leadership. The Academy for Sport Leadership suggests success is found by deliberately acting to build the right relationships with your teammates, guiding others with influence, and initiating change. Change must be initiated daily, inspiring shared behavior, and focusing intentional behaviors—both yours and your teammates. The truth is, deliberate acts of leadership accumulate and over time make a significant difference. Small steps over time generate big results.
Truth #2: Decrease Neglected Acts of Leadership
Replacing the old way of doing things with the new does not happen at the touch of a button. At the end of the day take a quick quiz: How many leadership acts did I let go by? The habit of critical self-reflection requires a deep conviction to becoming a better leader. It’s not easy to admit to the things you didn’t do, that you could have, or should have done. Perseverance even when the pain seems unbearable will lead to enormous benefits. Acknowledge neglected acts of leadership. Learn from them. The truth is, like deliberate acts of leadership, the neglected acts of leadership accumulate and over time make a significant difference—in a negative direction.
Truth #3: Identify Your Four-Minute Mile
Years ago it was believed that no human being could ever break the four-minute mile. But after Roger Bannister broke through this barrier once thought to be impossible, many runners produced sub-4 minutes within weeks. Why? The truth is, that the “miracle mile” was a mental barrier rather than a physical barrier. What’s your four-minute mile? What mental barrier is preventing you from becoming a high-performing team leader? Create a deliberate plan to break through your four-minute mile. 
Truth #4: The One-Minute Mile
It only takes one minute to go the extra mile. Leadership is about relationships. It’s about building stronger bonds between you and your teammates. The stronger your relationships, the stronger the results. The truth is, the deeper your relationships with teammates, the stronger your leadership. 
Truth #5: Detach From the Noise
Your attention, please! Your attention—and that of your teammates—is a vital resource to the success of your team. Twitter, Facebook, I-Pod, the Internet… The truth is, more and more of your attention and that of your teammates is consumed by gizmos and gadgets. The onslaught of media messages simply clutter our minds and consume much of our energy. To become a dynamic team leader you need to manage your attention span and use your leadership power to hold your teammates' attention too. The truth is you’ll live a better life if you detach from the noise and give your attention to those things that will lead you to success.
Truth #6: Think. Reflect. Act.
Clarity precedes success. Outstanding leaders have high levels of self-awareness. This is developed by deliberately thinking about who you are, what you know, and what needs to be done. The truth is, your thinking creates your reality. And to see reality accurately you need to think clearly, reflect honestly, and take trustworthy actions.
Truth #7: Seize the Opportunities Amidst Setbacks
As you leave your cocoon of comfort, you will fail. But you must fail to win. Setbacks and struggles come with the role of leadership. Devote yourself to daily leadership actions and relentless progress. You learned to walk by getting up after falling. You learn to lead by doing—which involves failing. Every misstep brings you closer to the winning step. And if your teammates don’t quite understand why you’re doing what you’re doing, don’t let them bring you down. The truth is, when they stop saying anything, it’s because they no longer want to follow you.