How to embrace your masculinity, without being toxic

About once a week, I here my co-workers say something along the lines of “Men are the worst.” Feeling the awkwardness in the room as the only full-time male staff member, I tend to reply with a simple “I agree.” Now tell us how you really feel, Rhys…you might be saying. And well, it’s true. This is how I really feel. Most of the men in my life have massively let me down, and the majority of my scars in life come from the insufficient care of men with far more fragility than they’ve ever been willing to admit. The vast majority of opportunities I had to establish positive male role models in my life involved heavy handholding from my own father, who couldn’t allow me to participate in anything without being front and centre as a part of it himself. I love supposedly feminine things like fashion, cooking and dance, and I hate supposedly masculine things like fighting, violence, and the culture around sports like American football and hockey where “manliness” is projected by how hard you can hit or how long you can play through a concussion. I prefer to interact with and befriend females, out of the exact same reasons why I often hear the women in my life proclaim “men are the worst.” This is all to say that those bro-ey type of guys…the “Chads and Brads” as my co-workers would call them, just aren’t for me. And yet, I’m completely masculine.

Tips for establishing yourself in new environments…

This week, I started a new job in a brand new city. I was instantly blown away by the positive work culture of the organization, and how quickly I belonged. But I also impressed myself with how quickly I was able to feel comfortable with my co-workers, and how I was able to be assertive in establishing myself as a person of importance within the first week. So today, I bring you some tips that will help you instantly establish yourself in new environments, and help you feel confident in being assertive right away.

Creating positive work cultures…

This week, I began a brand new journey, with a brand new job in a brand new city (the city has been around for some time but it’s new to me!). Instantly, I felt welcomed, important, and like I belonged. This isn’t always the case when you start a new job, so today, I wish to talk about what my new employers did so very well in my first week in creating such a positive work culture.

Reflections on Return to Sport – An autoethnography of my experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic…

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented community sport organizations with unique opportunities to reflect and rethink their practices (Fullagar, 2020). This study presents an autoethnography, in which I study myself within my context as a Technical Leader for a community sport organization (CSO) during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study attempted to identify factors that impact and improve CSO effectiveness, survival and resilience during the pandemic. Additionally, I explored the features that were most impactful to my ability to carry out my role and be effective for the club. Through the autoethnographic process, I observed leader dedication, tight coordination and control, dedicated staff, and open communication to be essential features of organizational capacity and resilience during the pandemic. I also observed environmental instability, failures to retain staff and inter-organizational conflict to limit the club’s ability to be effective during return to play, and my own effectiveness within my role. Through sharing my experiences, sporting organizations may gain a greater understanding of the features and necessary steps for efficient functioning and survival during an external environmental threat, such as a pandemic. Leaders and managers of CSOs may also gain valuable insight into how to effectively manage an organization through environmental uncertainty.

Why being fun is an underrated aspect of leadership…

Leadership, a word comprising many characteristics and traits, is likely one of the broadest words in the English language. People have been studying the concept of leadership for quite some time, and it would be near impossible to come up with a definitive definition of what leadership truly comprises. What the word means to each individual may differ and include aspects like teamwork, culture building, management, communication, motivation, guidance, authority, control, and likely hundreds of other blanketed terms. Recently I have been thinking about leadership characteristics more and more in my everyday life, constantly reflecting as to how I can be better within my professional role as a Technical Leader of a soccer club. In my reflections, I have come to the realization that just about everything, every aspect of being a good leader, centers around inspiring others to have fun. Simultaneously, I think this has likely been under-appreciated in the research and literature surrounding the concept of leadership, in favour of other buzzwords like “guidance”, “influence” and “power” that are also too broad. Here is why fun is so important to leadership, and likely an underrated aspect when considering what makes someone a “good leader.”