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  • Doug Morris

Behaviors to Boost Your Tri Race Leadership Capabilities

Leadership as a triathlete goes beyond finishing in first place. The sport provides development opportunities before and beyond race day to advance your leadership skills in other areas of your life.

Triathlon Leadership

Without honing your leadership behavior you may underutilize our skills in racing, careers, and adulthood. Our children, employers, RD’s, and sponsors want role model leaders to generate excitement, initiate relationships, and promote activities for the betterment of their purpose in life. As an impassioned triathlete you will also want to achieve your maximum potential on race day. Keep reading if you want to learn how to go faster and further as a leader in and outside the sport.

There are three legs to a triathlete’s leadership presence:

  • Attributes – your personal beliefs of what you stand for and associated guiding values in how you behave.

  • Abilities – racing acumen, how you relate to people (competitors, your support group, peers, and many others), problem solving skills, and incremental knowledge of your physical capabilities gained during training and racing experiences

  • Attraction – Interest developed from people you interact with before, during, and after races.

Below are examples of how to represent different aspects of leadership in triathloning:


  • Competitiveness -- race against strong competitors. Observe them. Ask them questions. Adopt their best practices to enable you to race faster and lead your next triathlon.

  • Humility – demonstrate awareness of your strengths and weaknesses.

  • Integrity – show consistency with your behavior, abide by the rules including doping and drafting, build trust with authenticity, and follow up on your commitments.


  • Strength – generate physical, mental, and emotional powers aligned to the demands of your goals.

  • Endurance – train to reach sustainability of the duration and distance in your targeted events.

  • Stamina – race with speed at pace pushing your physical limits.

  • Race Knowledge – pursue continual learning and apply learnings in races. Identify tactical race options, then apply your choices for future races.

  • Confidence – Believe in your ability to learn, use, and execute on tactics to race faster. Make decisions and follow through with self-assured actions.

  • Composure -- Shrug off the overblown fear of failure that will never occur as you prepare for your next race. Focus on race tactics and not the podium winners’ finishing medal.


  • Likeability – use your friendly demeanor to build relationships. Be genuine in your interests in others. Learn from others to develop yourself and raise everyone around you in races and life.

  • Promotability – show progression in your life in family, races, and career. Take on continual responsibilities. Develop others to strengthen your succession plan.

  • Star Power – accept it’s OK to promote yourself and others’ in their services, products, and lifestyles. Be humble, unique, and creditable to generate value in the eyes of others.

  • Spokesperson – gain confidence in your ability to talk clearly and succinctly with others. Foster open communication to support and share ideas. Represent others triathletes in the sport.

  • Appearance – dress to your desired role. Set the trends without lingering in sameness too long. Be practical in racing attire and equipment. Accept others will judge you on looks within seconds. First impressions matter to other people. They should matter to you too.

  • Inclusiveness – value diversity to improve your understanding as a citizen of the world and how other cultures can improve your race tactics and lifestyle.

  • Assertiveness – initiate conversations with others. Persuade others with your own ideas. Influence your support group in call to action activities to improve your life and the sport.

  • Lead Courageously – compete in championship qualifiers and difficult races with top caliper triathletes.

Think of your triathlon, career, and life role models. Compare your attributes, abilities, and attractions to theirs. Adjust, refine, and swap as desired: then reach your maximum potential in how you want to be a leader in life, triathlons, and beyond.

After a self-awareness assessment in your leadership profile and comparisons to your role models, what did you modify?

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