Take a walk on the wild side: Exploring, identifying, and developing consultancy expertise with elite performance team leaders

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Stemming from sport psychology's recent shift to examine the effective management of elite sports team organizations, the extensive, significant, and complex challenges faced by those with responsibility for team performance have been emphasized. Recognizing that most work in this budding area has been theoretical in nature, our contribution to this special issue consequently identifies and critically evaluates some implications for excellence in practitioners who support leaders of elite sport performance teams.


Narrative review and commentary.

Results and conclusions:

To survive and succeed, leaders of elite teams must: (a) negotiate complex and contested socio-political dynamics both within and outside their performance department; (b) make impactful and consistent real-time decisions; and (c) continually reinforce and protect their programme. To provide an optimally impactful and valued service, sport psychologists must therefore be able to advise on a broad and politically-astute leadership style and, most critically for consultancy excellence: (a) work within a professional judgement and decision making model; (b) facilitate the leader's adaptive expertise and nested decision making; and (c) operate a proactive, forthright, and straight approach to ethical considerations. Based on these implications, we conclude by providing suggestions for the training and development of applied consultants.

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