Does sport provide the perfect model for every manager?

Sport is often denounced as something frivolous, a past time that has now gained undue prominence in the media. That’s to dismiss the discipline involved and individuals reaching peak physical condition in order to work together to achieve a common goal. At the forefront of all this is a manager; someone who makes all the key decisions about the formation, tactics and even the training, demanding excellence at every turn. There are many parallels to be drawn from sport and every manager can use it to guide best practice principles.

Preparation is paramount

Sport stars can no longer rely on raw talent to get them to the top. Today, they need to be in peak physical condition to give them every possible edge. Each individual has a specialised training programme to enable them to reach their physical peak with a regimented diet in order to help them fulfil their potential as an athlete. In team sports, everyone will be instructed on their specific role within the team and exactly what will be required from them as an individual during the big game.   

Every manager should make sure that team members are aware of exactly what will be expected of them in the workplace. They should be given relevant materials and training to prepare them to do the job at hand and guidance throughout the project.  

Set high expectations

A manager goes into every game expecting their team to win. What’s the point in even playing the game if you don’t think that there’s a chance of victory? Businesses need to treat every pitch and every client like they could lose them if they’re not working to their full potential. There’s a new game to be played every week and no one can ever afford to rest on their laurels. Everyone must play to their strengths and be ready for new challenges at all times.

Become an inspiration

Things don’t always go your way in sport, nor do they in business. In every Hollywood sports movie, the hero team is always down by a point heading into the final phase of play. The coach calls a time out, makes a speech or unexpected tactical change which inspires his players and they go on to win.

Every team needs a great leader, someone who can inspire them to become winners.  This doesn’t necessarily involve giving big speeches or creating detailed tactics, but by respecting and earning the respect by demonstrating the value of your knowledge and experience.

Learn from defeat

As the old saying goes, you can’t win them all. Even the greatest champions must at some point face defeat. This is not something that should just be accepted but instead it’s a great opportunity to learn about areas for improvement. In sport, there’s video evidence available for analysis but this lack of recording shouldn’t mean that inquiries are not carried out.

Every member of the team should evaluate if they worked well together and if they carried out their individual roles to the best of their ability. The overall strategy should also be analysed in order to assess if it was the best approach. Through these steps, everyone involved will ensure that the same mistakes are not made again.

Find a plan B

No matter how much planning and preparation you do, sometimes the first plan of attack simply doesn’t work. Perhaps the opposition did something unexpected or conditions were less than optimal. No matter why this has happened, it’s vital to come up with a plan-B to neutralise the opposition and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Businesses should be able to demonstrate their versatility and the talents of the team to react when things don’t go to plan. It’s vital to never make any assumptions about a project  

To find out how you can get the most from your team, get in touch with our Performance Academy today.