Rick Blabolil
President
June 1, 2017

How to Match Your Leadership with the Greatest Coaches in Sports

As we are in the throws of the NBA and NHL playoffs, and well on our way into the baseball season, it is worth noting the relevance of sports in the business world. Just like many things in life (cliché, I know), we can draw quite a few parallels from the court, rink, or field to bettering your company. I’d like to focus on the leadership.


Strive to be the best
Behind every good team is a good coach. Here in the Windy City, we have been home to some of the greatest coaches in sports, of all time. Among the legends representing for Chicago are Mike Ditka, George Halas, and Phil Jackson. These leaders have some fundamental similarities that brought their teams to greatness.

We can take away and be reminded of some key points from them, as they believe in their athletes (or in our case, employees), inspire them, set goals and provide consistent training and feedback, and help them learn from their mistakes.

There’s no “I” in team
One-man teams rarely outperform those where everyone’s talents are put to use. Team success counts on everyone’s contributions. Building effective teams who support each other, hold each other accountable, and work together will inevitably boost productivity. It’s important to know when to pull back on your supervision, as well. When peers manage the majority of performance problems with one another, they are generally the high-performing teams. Ensure that they have your confidence and know that you believe in their ability to achieve. Fostering team-building and sense of community in the workplace, without pitting people against each other, will work to your company’s benefit.

Setting clear goals
In sports, it can be easy to set measurable goals: number of points scored in a game, rebounds, tackles, strikeouts etc. In your business, it is just as important to set clear, and measurable goals. This makes progress much easier to track, and results more visible to the people working towards them. You can use incentives to help them reach their goals and remain engaged. When those goals are set, be sure to provide consistent feedback to let them know how they’re doing and that you are invested in the outcome of their hard work.

Learn from your mistakes
Even the best teams, athletes, and coaches make mistakes. Similarly, PPAI Publications reports that “nearly all top leaders had made at least one major mistake in the past, while 45 percent had in the past gone through a major career blowup that either ended their job or lost the company a large sum of money.” It’s going to happen, so it’s your job as the leader to teach them how to recover, rework it, and move on.

Coaching sports teams continuously draws similarities to leadership in the incentive industry. So try to be like Mike… or George, or Phil, or even Joe Maddon. Because for us here in Chicago, Joe’s team, our team, recently brought home the biggest incentive reward we could think of – The Commissioner’s Trophy and the ability to be called World Series Champions… it took 108 years of team-building, setting goals, and learning from our mistakes, so perseverance does prevail.

Are you looking for more ways to jump-start your team in the office place? Contact a Marketing Innovators solutions expert to see how.

PPAI Publications: Lessons from the Leadership Gene. May 12, 2017.

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