Dumped leaders need to ask teammates tough questions
Leadership experts have urged Jack Viney and Zach Merrett to seek honest feedback from teammates who did not vote for the midfielders that have been dumped from positions they've held for several years.
Player votes recently conducted by Melbourne and Essendon have seen Viney, 25, relegated to vice-captain and best-and-fairest winner Merrett, 24, omitted from the Bombers' leadership group after four years of service.
Leading Teams director and facilitator Justin 'Frankie' Peckett advised clubs to hold open ballots, where players stand up and vote 5-4-3-2-1 in front of their peers.
"I don't see the point of an anonymous vote, because ultimately the key component is to get feedback as to why you're in or why you're out," Peckett said.
"The numbers then tell a story and there's often a natural cut-off. Is it six (in the leadership group)? Is it four?
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"The key component is to dedicate time to actually have conversations and provide guys with feedback.
"Then the players are really clear around what their teammates want from them, and that gives them the chance to behave their way back in.
"If a player gets voted out or doesn't make the cut, and then cracks the s****, that potentially vindicates why they didn't get enough votes in the first place.
"I would imagine based on what I've seen of some of the players in the news recently that it'll sting, they'll hear the feedback and they'll get to work."
Port Adelaide's Ollie Wines has also been stripped of the co-captaincy.
The Leading Teams empowerment model often encourages draftees to vote to provide a fresh perspective, however usually they do not count towards the official tally.
Peckett warned against players being allowed to relinquish leadership duties.
Essendon's Orazio Fantasia declined a leadership position this month despite winning enough votes.
"You can't opt out of leadership," Peckett said.
"I don't understand how that can happen, because what players and clubs need to understand is if a playing group follows you, they follow you.
"Clearly, the playing group is looking to them for leadership."
The former St Kilda champion, who has worked as a leadership facilitator with Richmond, St Kilda, Sydney and Port Adelaide, said clubs that include stars on talent alone compromised their system.
"There was one case of the best player receiving one vote - so 99 per cent of the players didn't vote for him - but the club gets seduced by talent and panic and want their star players in the leadership group," he said.
The Lions and Power have employed Leading Teams this year and Brisbane recently unveiled a nine-man group.
Peckett said players should vote against agreed criteria - trademarks and expected behaviours on and off the field - to ensure the designated leaders "live and breathe" the club's values.
"(The vote) can be tense, but it's designed to be supportive," he said.
"You give guys the opportunity to stick their hand up and say, 'Fellas, I'd be really interested in why I didn't get any votes?'
"It's then incumbent on the players who didn't vote for that player to stand up and say, 'I didn't vote for you for these reasons. But if you did this, this and this you'd be a great chance to get my vote'.
"That then relates to what you do at training and how you do your extras and how they conduct themselves around the club."
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