Advancing leadership in sport: Time to 'actually' take the blinkers off? A response to Cruikshank and Collins (2016)

John Mills, Ian Boardley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
155 Downloads (Pure)


In a recent article entitled Advancing Leadership in Sport: Time to Take off the Blinkers?’ published in Sports Medicine, Cruickshank and Collins presented what they deemed to be a critical analysis of extant leadership research in sport, attempting to establish a rationale for a greater emphasis on both the cognitive and ‘darker’ (i.e., socially undesirable) sides of leadership. The purpose of the present article is to challenge and clarify a number of misrepresentations in the arguments made in the foundation article, and to question some of the resultant recommendations made. Specifically, the present response will focus on Cruickshank and Collins’ (a) lack of specificity regarding the actual ‘dark’ traits they are apparently purporting to be effective leadership traits, (b) the dearth of theoretical and empirical support for their claims relating to the benefits of ‘dark’ leadership (c) misrepresentation of transformational leadership theory, (d) decision to ignore other relevant theoretical frameworks when presenting their arguments, and (e) apparent confirmation bias in the selective use of literature to support their arguments. Leadership research in sport may well benefit from new directions and methodological advancements and on this level we concur with the aims of Cruickshank and Collins’ article. However, we believe their misrepresentations and inappropriate recommendations do little to advance this area of research, and potentially serve to take it backwards not forwards.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-570
Number of pages6
JournalSports Medicine
Issue number3
Early online date19 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


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