What Leadership Lessons Can Businesses Learn From Sports?

leadership and sports(Image by WeSEE)

 In light of Sachin Tendulkar’s recent retirement, dozens of articles, posts, Tweets have spread all over the web, about his skills as a cricketer, his career moves and more so his leadership skills. Businesses have over the years had a fascination with sports. What are the sports stars like? How do they motivate themselves to play their best at every game? How do they do so well when faced with adversity?

We’ve known of a lot of companies who have inspirational sessions with these sports players, athletes and their teams to understand how these sporting legends do what they do. In fact running a business and playing a sport aren’t that different from each other. People learn to play a sport, as early as 4 years old and more often than ever, this sport will change them, mould them to be who they are today. Lessons we can apply to every day life. Fierce competition, dedication, courage, passion, teamwork, winning by the slimmest of margins, establishing short term and long term goals, strategies to achieve targets, hard work, dealing with success and recovering from failure in the same breath- all of these are prevalent in both worlds and will shape you as a human being.

What do these sports stars do? Have you noticed that after they retire, most sportsmen make good businessmen?

Here are  our top 15 tips to shape your business to success

  1. Always project a positive attitude: Having positive mental attitude increases self-esteem, self – confidence promotes self worth, and you gain greater self-control and are less likely to be affected by stress. During a peak performance, winners are free from anxiety, they are relaxed and alert. Try using this (Source: Richard F. Gerson) to help you focus and stay ahead.

F– Focus



E– Execute

2. Set goals after careful planning and setting: Goals aren’t just action oriented but also outcome oriented. Setting short term, mid term and long term goals will help you plan for each stage and adapt to changes, if any. Don’t forget to make them S.M.A.R.T.

3.Develop mental toughness and strength. The stress caused by the expectation of success can be huge; overwhelming and definitely daunting. Performing well under such circumstances would mean to train your mind to relax; focus on the task at hand and performing in front of customers, bosses, suppliers etc. train your mind by removing negative thoughts and replacing it  with positive outcomes.

4. Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation: Intrinsic motivation comes from the inherent ability of a person to perform simply because they love what they are doing. Extrinsic motivation may include monetary rewards, holidays, incentives etc. You need both for success but you can’t achieve it without being intrinsically motivated.

5.Visualization and Imagery: Heard of a visual board? When your mind believes something it sees, the body achieves it. Create visual boards that help you visualise your goal. Every day you’re one step  closer to achieving it!

6.Learning continuously: In order to succeed, you are always expected to expand your minds and think laterally. Read, attend webinars, and learn on the job. Seek out your mentors or coaches. Continuous learning will not only broaden your thinking capacity, but will always ensure that you are in tune with what’s happening around the world and make you prepared.

7.Learn to Manage stress: it’s very hard to accomplish tasks without the stress of the job, but managing it is imperative. If you do you’re more likely to be alert, confident, insightful, creative and goal oriented. If most employees in an organization are able to manage stress efficiently, you’ll have increased levels of productivity, effective time management and improved decision making skills.

8.Maintain good health and well being

9.Provide continuous engagement:

What leaders do different

(Image by WeSEE)

10.                 Treat everyone as Equals:  In a sports team, everyone is equal and is addressed in the same way. Likewise, treat each member of your team the same way. Never play favourites.

11.Don’t dwell on Mistakes:  Making mistakes is part of the job and it is what will make you prepared as you progress further. But dwelling on the mistakes will make you lose confidence, and will lower your productivity.

12.Involve Everyone- make them feel a part of the same team

13.Communicate Effectively

14.Practice Performing Under pressure: What were the triggers for great performance before? Or what were the reasons for poor performance? Track your pattern so that you’re ready for when it happens again. Doing this will help you perform better the next time. Pressure and stress are good so long as it motivates you and keeps you alert, not if it affects you mentally and physically.

15.Work hard and be Persistent in your efforts.

What it means to be a leader(Image by WeSEE)

Leaders aren’t born but are made. “The function of leadership is to produce more leaders and not followers”- Ralph Nader

These top tips are what we have learnt observing sports legends and athletes and how you can implement them in your business.

What tips do you use that you’ve learnt from playing a  sport?

-Social Pandora


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