Sports and Leadership – different, yet the same.
This weeks blog I have taken a look at the connection between sport and leadership. Whether you’re a professional athlete or not, sports participation can bring leadership qualities that are effective in both an athletic and professional life – not to mention private life!
If you know me you will know I am not the most athletic person to walk the earth… So as well as using my own experience, I have also done a spot of research, and below are four leadership skills that can be learnt in sport that also have a direct workplace crossover.
This may be obvious, but teamwork is one of the basic skills sports can teach participants. Teamwork helps motivate participants to do their part, assisting the team to reach its ultimate goal. Teamwork also involves delegation of tasks, which is what successful leaders do every day. In an individual sports setting, the athlete, the coach and more peripheral roles, such as massage therapists, nutritionists and those providing equipment and gear are still working as a team and highlight the importance all roles in a team make towards the ultimate goal.
Communication skills are vital for leaders to motivate, recognise and appreciate the work of the other team members. Speak the same language. Inspire people to keep up good work and improve in other parts. Team unity is empowering. Equally, poor communication results in teams loosing focus and confidence. The ability to communicate effectively in business or sports is arguably most important when things don’t go according to plan. Individuals and the team as a whole will need to be picked up and motivated to dust themselves off and move forward with determination and drive.
Strategic Development and Organisational Skills
Teamwork and communication are not effective unless there is organisation and strategy behind it. Sports and team activities give opportunities for participants to come up with a game plan and strategies to win. Leaders always have the ultimate goal in mind.
On an individual level, sports can give participants self discipline and understanding. Self discipline from sports can teach an athlete what they need to practice, where they need to push and when they need to seek additional support.
Sports brings different challenges to each of the participants, but can also allow them to recognise the overall challenge at hand, their own contributions and to also make necessary improvements individually.
Leadership skills are important both on and off the sports field. They help create championship teams, great work in the office and most importantly, personal growth.
As you might know I am the Founder of Kit Us Out, a charity that supports both para-athtletes in developing nations and indviduals from disadvantaged communities in the UK. All of the above, is also true for para-athletes and para-sports. In this scenario, the need of great team work might be even bigger, because the challenges are bigger and the resources are often smaller.
Kit Us Out is working towards bridging some of the “gaps” and levelling the playing field for para-athletes all over the globe, giving gear to athletes and recognition to the importance of para-sports.
I have been very lucky to meet some hugely inspiring individuals through the work of Kit Us Out. I would personally love to see all para-athletes thinking of themselves as leaders and as team members, by doing something they enjoy and are good at, they not only empower themselves, but having seen it time and again, I know they equally empower those around them. Ultimately we are all different, yet the same.