In a recent article, Chip Kelly gave praise for Tim Tebow’s football camp efforts. Tim Tebow has overcome many challenges in the NFL which has enabled him to tryout for the Philadelphia Eagles. Praise is a powerful leadership tool that can offset the perception of Chip Kelly as a racist.
According to the article, Tim Tebow has a legitimate opportunity at remaining as a NFL quarterback. Chip Kelly stated regarding Tim Tebow, “I’ve seen Tim improve since he’s gotten here. He’s improved his throwing motion a great deal. Since we got him back in April, he’s worked very hard at that. Sequencing his throwing motion, so I think he’s been more accurate.”
Even though Tim Tebow has been released by the Philadelphia Eagles, the praise that Chip Kelly offered had a positive impact. Tebow appeared to out duel counterpart Matt Barkley. Barkley has a 50% passing success rate for 38 yards which gave him a quarterback rating of 30.6. While Tebow had a quarterback rating of 117, he also had a 65% passing success rate for 189 yards.
It appears that the usage of praise by Chip Kelly had a positive impact on Tebow. However, Chip Kelly’s absence of the usage of praise with other players is an indication of his leadership style which continues to fuel racism in the NFL. From recent media reports it appears the coach Kelly has a dominant power over transactional leadership style.
What are some of the characteristics of Chip Kelly’s leadership style?
One essential component of Coach Kelly’s leadership style is power over. Power over leadership assumes that the subordinates are passive, lazy, have little ambition, prefer to be led, and are resistant to change. The extreme case for power over leadership includes an emphasis of coercion, tight controls, threats, and punishments.
These characteristics are consistent with Chip Kelly’s recent behavior. In a recent article, several Philadelphia Eagles indicated that Chip is not a racist but treats players like commodities. Treating a player like a commodity is consistent with treating a player like a wage slave. Wage slavery refers to a situation where a person’s livelihood depends on wages or a salary, especially when the dependence is total and immediate.
Another essential component of Chip Kelly’s leadership style is transactional. Transactional leaders require compliance from employees in exchange for expected rewards. Due to the expected rewards, which includes salary contracts, NFL players are expected to contribute heavily to bottom-line productivity. Bottom-line productivity is consistent with transactional leadership characteristics. Transactional leadership receives support from bureaucratic authority. If a bureaucracy is to operate successfully, it must maintain an unusual level of conformity.
When NFL players are unable to produce high success, a transactional leader like Chip Kelly can use his or her bureaucratic authority by withholding monetary rewards. Bureaucratic authority empowers transactional leadership.
Additionally, transactional leaders actively search for deviations from rules and intervene when standards are not met. Not meeting standards requires holding NFL players accountable. Power over and transactional leadership is not as effective as other leadership platforms.
How can praise off set the racist implications of Chip Kelly’s leadership style?
Verbal encouragement will increase participation and the desired behavior. Praise is an effective reinforcement that provides encouragement and is reinforcement for behavior performance improvement. Praise is an effective reinforcement that helps to build self-esteem and helps to build better relationships.
Chip Kelly can also use humor as a way to promote positive racial relationships. Humor can build and strengthen relationships, especially on the individual level. Humor is used to:
- Connect the speaker with the audience, such as the coach and the player
- Clarify a view or idea
- Level criticisms so the speaker can continue to identify with the audience to include reinforcing rules and expectations for normative behaviors
- Contrast the views of others with themselves.
Humor can increase the connection between the coach and the players. However, Chip Kelly must use praise and humor naturally, or else it can backfire.
Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D. www.positiveracialrelationships.com PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012
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Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology
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