Jordi Díaz, chief executive officer of EADA
PhD in Business Administration by École des Ponts Paris Tech
author of the book “The Innovative Management Education Ecosystem”
ex waterpolo player

This is the leader
David Martín

The journal of the Chair of Leadership in Values has given me the opportunity to reflect on responsible leaders through the figure of David Martín, whose interview is published in this issue. As a good leader, he highlights the role of his team, which has achieved historic results. In another sport, it would undoubtedly receive extensive media coverage. It is an honor to talk about the responsible leader of this unprecedented success in this and other sports. This leader is David Martín.

Applying one of the most contemporary leadership models, authentic leadership, we observe how its key aspects are reflected in this unique case. Authentic leadership is defined by five levels: life story, self-regulation, self-awareness, support team, and integrated life.

Regarding his life path, David Martín’s career is deeply tied to waterpolo, complemented by his interest in the personal and professional development of others. In addition to his successful career as a player, Martín chose to study Psychology and specialized in the development of high-performance teams. Thus, his life path encompasses a long period as the captain of the best team in the Spanish league and the national waterpolo team, combining professional achievements with moments of personal overcoming.

The next level, self-regulation, emerges as an essential quality for any leader. Despite his achievements, Martín maintains an attitude of modesty and awareness about the dangers of fame and power, aspects that have negatively affected some of his fellow athletes in the past. As an athlete, he experienced difficult situations that, instead of weakening him, helped to strengthen his own self-regulation, which he also imparts to his young players. This contributes to the sustained success that has culminated in seven medals in seven years.

The third level, self-awareness, is inherent to Martín’s training as a psychologist and coach. His inspiration comes from various sources and he adopts an eclectic and adaptable approach. At the team level, his selection has developed a unique style of play, capitalizing on its own strengths and creating a distinctive model of play recognized by all competitors.

Regarding the fourth level, as an authentic leader, his support team is not limited to technical members only, but also includes his family and former teammates, who provide him with emotional and professional support. This support network has been fundamental in his success as a sports leader. Actually, one of his brothers was his coach during his last stage as a player, and they likely continue to have reflective conversations to this day.

Finally, at the fifth level, integrated life, Martín’s ability to coherently integrate his personal and professional life becomes evident. This coherence in his identity has contributed to his effective leadership in the sports field. Authentic leaders not only balance their personal and professional lives, but also aspire to be the same person at work as they are at home.

The case of David Martín offers a valuable lesson for organizations and businesses, illustrating the benefits of authentic and inclusive leadership.

PhD. Jordi Díaz,
Chief Executive Officer of EADA, PhD in Business Administration by École des Ponts Paris Tech, author of the book“The Innovative Management Education Ecosystem” and ex waterpolo player