Sports Medicine

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 565–570 | Cite as

Advancing Leadership in Sport: Time to ‘Actually’ Take the Blinkers Off?

  • John P. MillsEmail author
  • Ian D. Boardley
Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor

Discussions around the bright (i.e. socially desirable) and dark (i.e. socially undesirable) sides of sports leadership have resurfaced recently [1, 2, 3]. While discussing both the bright and dark sides of leadership has its merits, it is important not to glorify behaviours and traits that can potentially be harmful. As such, this letter aims to clarify a range of theoretical misconceptions of both dark and transformational leadership, as discussed within Cruickshank and Collins [1, 2]. Specific attention is paid to the following arguments. Cruickshank and Collins [2] (p. 4) argue that leaders are not necessarily more effective should they “have a more complete, brighter, or stronger set of ‘gold standard’ behaviours”, suggesting that both bright and dark traits can work in tandem. Second, they suggest that the findings from their recent research encourage an ‘it depends’ approach to the study of leadership. Rather than behaving in an authentic manner, Cruickshank and...


Transformational Leadership Social Dominance Servant Leader Transactional Leadership Tactical Impression Management 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors thank the two anonymous reviewers for their detailed feedback and Dr Adam Bruton for suggesting the title of this manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this manuscript.

Conflict of interest

John Mills and Ian Boardley declare that they have no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of SportUniversity of ChichesterChichesterEngland, UK
  2. 2.School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation SciencesUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamEngland, UK

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