Lead Me to Train Better: Transformational Leadership’s Moderation of the Negative Relationship Between Athlete Personality and Training Behaviors

in The Sport Psychologist
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD $24.95

Student 1 year subscription

USD $68.00

1 year subscription

USD $90.00

Student 2 year subscription

USD $129.00

2 year subscription

USD $168.00

High-quality training environments are essential for athletic peak performance. However, recent research highlighted that athletes’ personality characteristics could undermine effective training. The current set of studies aimed to examine whether specific transformational leadership characteristics displayed by the coach would moderate the potential negative impacts of 2 personality traits (i.e., extraversion and neuroticism) on training behaviors. In Study 1, 99 university athletes completed questionnaires assessing personality, transformational leadership, and training behaviors. In Study 2, 84 high-level athletes completed the same personality and transformational leadership questionnaires, but the head coaches assessed their training behaviors. Both studies showed that coaches’ high performance expectations moderated the extraversion–distractibility relationship. Furthermore, both studies demonstrated that the relationship between neuroticism and coping with adversity was moderated by coaches’ inspirational motivation. The findings indicate that extraversion and neuroticism can negatively relate to training behaviors, but such effects can be moderated by certain transformational leadership behaviors.

Zhang, Beattie, and Dempsey are with the Inst. for the Psychology of Elite Performance, Bangor University, Bangor, United Kingdom. Pitkethly is with the School of Life, Sport and Social Science, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

Zhang (pep61f@bangor.ac.uk) is corresponding author.
The Sport Psychologist
Article Sections
References
  • AllenM.S.GreenleesI. & JonesM. (2013). Personality in sport: A comprehensive review. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology 6 184208. doi:10.1080/1750984X.2013.769614

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • AllenderS.CowburnG. & FosterC. (2006). Understanding participation in sport and physical activity among children and adults: A review of qualitative studies. Health Education Research 21 826835. PubMed ID: 16857780 doi:10.1093/her/cyl063

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ArthurC.A.BastardozN. & EklundR. (2017). Transformational leadership in sport: Current status and future directions. Current Opinion in Psychology 16 7883. PubMed ID: 28813361 doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2017.04.001

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ArthurC.A.WoodmanT.OngC.W.HardyL. & NtoumanisN. (2011). The role of athlete narcissism in moderating the relationship between coaches’ transformational leader behaviors and athlete motivation. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology 33 319. PubMed ID: 21451168 doi:10.1123/jsep.33.1.3

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BarlowD.H.EllardK.K.Sauer-ZavalaS.BullisJ.R. & CarlJ.R. (2014). The origins of neuroticism. Perspectives on Psychological Science 9 481496. PubMed ID: 26186755 doi:10.1177/1745691614544528

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BassB.M. (1985). Leadership and performance: Beyond expectations. New York, NY: Free Press.

  • BeattieS.AlqallafA.HardyL. & NtoumanisN. (2018). The mediating role of training behaviors on self-reported mental toughness and mentally tough behavior in swimming. Sport Exercise and Performance Psychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/spy0000146

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BellJ.J.HardyL. & BeattieS. (2013). Enhancing mental toughness and performance under pressure in elite young cricketers: A 2-year longitudinal intervention. Sport Exercise and Performance Psychology 2 281297. doi:10.1037/a0033129

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BlandM.J. & AltmanD.G. (1997). Statistics notes: Cronbach’s alpha. BMJ 314 572. PubMed ID: 9055718 doi:10.1136/bmj.314.7080.572

  • BolgerN. & ZuckermanA. (1995). A framework for studying personality in the stress process. Personality Processes and Individual Differences 69 890902 .

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BorghuisJ.DenissenJ.J.A.OberskiD.SijtsmaK.MeeusW.H.J.BranjeS.BleidornW. (2017). Big Five personality stability, change, and codevelopment across adolescence and early adulthood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 113 641657. PubMed ID: 28253001 doi:10.1037/pspp0000138

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BullS.J.AlbinsonJ.A. & ShambrookC.J. (1996). The mental game plan: Getting psyched for sport. East Sussex, UK: Sport Dynamics.

  • CallowN.SmithM.J.HardyL.ArthurC.A. & HardyJ. (2009). Measurement of transformational leadership and its relationship with team cohesion and performance level. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology 21 395412. doi:10.1080/10413200903204754

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • CharbonneauD.BarlingJ. & KellowayE.K. (2001). Transformational leadership and sports performance: The mediating role of intrinsic motivation. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 31 15211534. doi:10.1111/j.1559-1816.2001.tb02686.x

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • CohenJ.CohenP.WestS.G. & AikenL.S. (2003). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences (3rd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • CohnP.J. (2009). Get psyched for sports: Pregame mental strategies to perform your best. Orlando, FL: Peak Performance Sport.

  • CostaP.T. & McCraeR.R. (1985). The NEO personality inventory manual. Odessa, FL: Psychology Assessment Resources.

  • EysenckH.J. & EysenckM.W. (1985). Personality and individual differences: A natural science approach. New York, NY: Plenum Press.

  • FaulF.ErdfelderE.LangA.G. & BuchnerA. (2007). G*Power 3: A flexible statistical power analysis program for the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences. Behavior Research Methods 39 175191. doi:10.3758/bf03193146

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • GoslingS.D.RentfrowP.J. & SwannW.B. (2003). A very brief measure of the Big-Five personality domains. Journal of Research in Personality 37 504528. doi:10.1016/S0092-6566(03)00046-1

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • GouldD.FinchL.M. & JacksonS.A. (1993). Coping strategies used by national champion figure skaters. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport 64 453468. PubMed ID: 8278672 doi:10.1080/02701367.1993.10607599

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HaninY.L. (2007). Emotions in sport: Current issues and perspectives. In G. Tenenbaum & B. Eklund (Eds.) Handbook of sport psychology (3rd ed. pp. 3158). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley  & Sons.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HardyL.ArthurC.A.JonesG.ShariffA.MunnochK.IsaacsI. & AllsoppA.J. (2010). The relationship between transformational leadership behaviors, psychological, and training outcomes in elite military recruits. Leadership Quarterly 21 2032. doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2009.10.002

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HardyL.BarlowM.EvansL.ReesT.WoodmanT. & WarrC. (2017). Great British medalists: Psychosocial biographies of super-elite and elite athletes from Olympic sports. In M. WilsonV. Walsh & B. Parkin (Eds.) Sport and the brain: The science of preparing enduring and winning Part A Vol. 232 (pp. 1–119). Cambridge, MA: Academic Press, Elsevier.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HayesA.F. (Ed.). (2013). Introduction to mediation moderation and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • JaccardJ. & TurrisiR. (2003). Interaction effects in multiple regression (2nd ed.). Sage University Papers series on Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences 07-072. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • JacksonB.KnappP. & BeauchampM.R. (2009). The coach–athlete relationship: A tripartite efficacy perspective. The Sport Psychologist 23 203232. doi:10.1123/tsp.23.2.203

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • JowettS. & ChaundyV. (2004). An investigation into the impact of coach leadership and coach–athlete relationship on group cohesion. Group Dynamics: Theory Research and Practice 8 302311. doi:10.1037/1089-2699.8.4.302

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • LorimerR. & JowettS. (2009). Empathic accuracy, meta-perspective, and satisfaction in the coach–athlete relationship. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology 21 201212. doi:10.1080/10413200902777289

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • NewlandA.NewtonM.PodlogL.LeggW.E. & TannerP. (2015). Exploring the nature of transformational leadership in sports: A phenomenological examination with female athletes. Qualitative Research in Sport Exercise and Health 7 663687. doi:10.1080/2159676X.2015.1007889

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • NidefferR.N. (1993). Attention control training. In R.N. SingerM. Murphy & L.K. Tennant (Eds.) Handbook of research on sport psychology (pp. 127170). New York, NY: Macmillan.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • OrlickT. & PartingtonJ. (1988). Mental links to excellence. The Sport Psychologist 2 105130. doi:10.1123/tsp.2.2.105

  • PaulhusD.L.AksD.J. & CorenS. (1990). Independence of performance and self-report measures of distractibility. Journal of Social Psychology 130 781787. doi:10.1080/00224545.1990.9924630

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • PoczwardowskiA. & ConroyD.E. (2002). Coping responses to failure and success among elite athletes and performing artists. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology 14 313329. doi:10.1080/10413200290103581

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ReesT.HardyL.GüllichA.AbernethyB.CôtéJ.WoodmanT.WarrC. (2016). The great British Medalists Project: A review of current knowledge on the development of the world’s best sporting talent. Sports Medicine 46 10411058. PubMed ID: 26842017 doi:10.1007/s40279-016-0476-2

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • RobertsR.WoodmanT.LofthouseS. & WilliamsL. (2014). Not all players are equally motivated: The role of narcissism. European Journal of Sport Science 15 536542. PubMed ID: 25506721 doi:10.1080/17461391.2014.987324

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • RobertsR.WoodmanT. & SedikidesC. (2018). Pass me the ball: Narcissism in performance settings. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology 11 190213. doi:10.1080/1750984X.2017.1290815

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • SarasonI.G. (1984). Stress, anxiety, and cognitive interference: Reactions to tests. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 46 929938. PubMed ID: 6737201 doi:10.1037/0022-3514.46.4.929

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • SarasonI.G. (1988). Anxiety, self-preoccupation and attention. Anxiety Research 1 37. doi:10.1080/10615808808248215

  • SmithM.J.ArthurC.A.HardyJ.CallowN. & WilliamsD. (2013). Transformational leadership and task cohesion in sport: The mediating role of intrateam communication. Psychology of Sport and Exercise 14 249257. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2012.10.002

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • SmithM.J.YoungD.J.FigginsS.G. & ArthurC.A. (2017). Transformational leadership in elite sport: A qualitative analysis of effective leadership behaviors in cricket. The Sport Psychologist 31 115. doi:10.1123/tsp.2015-0077

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • SmithR.E. & ChristensenD.S. (1995). Psychological skills as predictors of performance and survival in professional baseball. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology 17 399415. doi:10.1123/jsep.17.4.399

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • TavakolM. & DennickR. (2011). Making sense of Cronbach’s alpha. International Journal of Medical Education 2 5355. PubMed ID: 28029643 doi:10.5116/ijme.4dfb.8dfd

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • van KnippenbergD. & SitkinS.B. (2013). A critical assessment of charismatic–transformational leadership research: Back to the drawing board? Academy of Management Annals 7 160. doi:10.5465/19416520.2013.759433

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • VellaS.A.OadesL.G. & CroweT.P. (2012). Validation of the Differentiated Transformational Leadership Inventory as a measure of coach leadership in youth soccer. The Sport Psychologist 26 207223. doi:10.1123/tsp.26.2.207

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • VellaS.A.OadesL.G. & CroweT.P. (2013). A pilot test of transformational leadership training for sports coaches: Impact on the developmental experiences of adolescent athletes. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching 8 513530. doi:10.1260/1747-9541.8.3.513

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • WoodmanT.ZourbanosN.HardyL.BeattieS. & McQuillanA. (2010). Do performance strategies moderate the relationship between personality and training behaviors? An exploratory study. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology 22 183197. doi:10.1080/10413201003664673

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • YuklG.A. (2006). Leadership in organizations (global ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education. doi:10.1017/CBO9781107415324.004

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
Article Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 125 125 34
Full Text Views 33 33 12
PDF Downloads 22 22 10
Altmetric Badge
PubMed
Google Scholar