Team leadership types

by barbaragarn

I’ve been thinking about this one for a while. Used my social anthropology skills to “unpack” the situation and came up with some observations.

Every team has two kinds of leaders.

I’m not talking about the C and the As, I’m talking about the leadership roles.

There’s the captain-coach, who directs the team on the ice. Drills at practice, setting lines, deciding when to pull the goalie. The captain-coach can be more captain than coach (the internal leader: “All right people, I know we can DO THIS! Let’s go!”) or more coach than captain (the external leader: “I want you to GET IN THERE and kick some ass!”).

But the point is, the captain-coach is the on-ice team leadership. This is who people look to, who they emulate. The captain-coach is who to watch to become a better hockey player.

The other team leadership role is the captain-manager. This poor soul (oh, how I sympathize) makes sure the team has ice, that everyone is registered with the league and has a jersey… that there are enough, but not too many, skaters for each game. All the behind-the-scenes stuff.

The captain-manager makes it possible for the captain-coach to HAVE ice to do her or his leadership “thing.” Because I’ve noticed that usually these two skill sets don’t intersect. The captain-coach person is usually CLUELESS about organization, and the captain-manager is usually the person with a lot of drive but not a lot of hockey experience. (And all that excitement has to get channeled somewhere, right? I give you Exhibit A: JMS Hockey.)

It doesn’t matter which one has the C or the A on the jersey; these roles don’t go with a particular letter (though I was on a team once that joked about giving our treasurer neither C nor A but a $ on his jersey.). The captain-coach and the captain-manager work together–sometimes without even realizing it–to provide the team with all the background work necessary to make the hockey venue happen, and then educates and leads the team effectively once they take that ice.

Any other observations about roles in hockey team leadership?
I deliberately didn’t include “enforcer” because I don’t think that’s a leadership position (and neither is “cherry picker”).