30 April 2019: New Leadership for Youth Through Sports: Leading from Bottoms-Up
Traditionally most leadership concept is about directing from the top down telling the subordinates what to do and how to do their job and perform their tasks. This form of hierarchical leadership assumes that people down the line in the organization are not able to carry out the job assigned to them without being told to do so. In this form of leadership, the leader at the top has a lot of control over those in the lower levels of the organization. However, the downside is that while the leader has a lot of control, those below are very much dependent on the leader at the top. Without that top leader, they are directionless and unable to perform their tasks. In this form of leadership, the concept assumed that people are a deficit to their society. While this form of hierarchical, top-down leadership is still relevant in this modern world especially in a large organization that deals with crisis situations or has many levels of organizational structure, in the world of youth development, it no longer applies. Youth development is about enabling and developing the potentials of the young people so that they can succeed in life. This is where the asset-based model of positive youth development (PYD) is now more relevant. The young people want to be empowered and dictate their own future direction in life, not to be dictated by someone else. Leading the young people is about acknowledging, engaging, ensuring, educating, enabling and empowering them to be established and excel in their future adult lives. To do so, therefore it has to be about pushing them to the limelight and top of the hierarchy, not suppressing them at the bottom. However, to do so, opportunities and platforms should be provided to express themselves and to showcase their capabilities. This is where sports and recreation activities are ideal for them to grow, develop, and succeed. Sports and recreation are fun activities that appeals to them to engage, ensure, educate, enable, and empower them to be at the top of the pyramid. Leadership is no longer about title and position when it comes to youth leadership development. In the sports and recreation arena, all players are equal. Therefore, the nature of sports and recreation are able to influence and enable them to lead in various capacities – directly and indirectly. Through these influences, enabling, and empowering, the young people could them grow, develop, and succeed. Leadership here is then about being a ‘servant’, an ‘influencer’, a ‘role model’, a mentor, a ‘facilitator’ and finally, a ‘transformer’. It is not a one-way top-down traffic of leading, but a two-way form of interactive leadership.
Lee Kwan Meng, Institut Pengajian Sains Sosial, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia
Prosiding 9th Institute of Physical Education International Conference, May 19 -21 , The Emerald Hotel, Bangkok
Keywords: New leadership, Youth, Positive Youth Development, Sports and Recreation