Sportsmanship in the Office: Off-Field Lessons in Teamwork

Watching sports is fun, but there’s a lot we can learn from observing their successes and mistakes.  Even for non sports fans, sports analogies are easy to understand and provide a fun way to think about your own work team.  Here are some lessons straight from the field that you can incorporate into your business.

Celebrate the Milestones

A football team has to win many games before they can reach the SuperBowl, and each of those wins is wholeheartedly celebrated by the team.  It would be ridiculous not to acknowledge all the victories the team has earned simply because they weren’t “The Big Game.”  Likewise, it’s important for companies to map out and celebrate the milestones on the way to their long term goals.  It’s easy for the finishline to seem out-of-reach and for to-do lists to become overwhelming.  By celebrating each win along the way, you’ll be motivating your team and reminding them that you’re all one step closer to the larger goal.  Here at Dion, some of our favorite designs incorporate “add-on” jewelry, so people can tangibly see their successes building as they add each new charm or stone to their piece. We also love creating championship-style rings for all industries to really make your team feel like champions when they meet their larger goals.

Individual Strengths

A football team can’t only be made of quarterbacks.  Every team has a range of positions that need to be filled by people with the appropriate skills.  An experienced coach can then draw on the individual strengths of their team to execute brilliant plays.  If you take the time to discover your office team’s individual strengths, you’ll be able to do the same.  Perhaps some of your coworkers love to meet new people and are better suited for customer-facing positions.  Another coworker may like event planning and is happy to plan your office events.  When people are doing what they like and are good at, they’ll be much more fulfilled with their work.  It also takes the burden off the people who are not as strong in those areas.

Team Values, Attitudes, and Goals

In order to foster a proper teamwork environment, you need to create the right culture.  Talk with your team about what your values, attitudes, and goals are.  

  • Values are what’s important to your team (i.e. humility, hardwork/best effort, quality, teamwork, etc.)
  • Attitudes are how your team feels about things (i.e. learning from mistakes, praising good work, helping each other, etc.)
  • Goals are your team’s desired results (i.e. happy customers, open communication, positive work environment, etc.)

Have a meeting to discuss what matters most to your team and write down what makes sense for your company.  With your values, attitudes, and goals clearly communicated, everyone will be on the same page and united in these shared ideals.

Know When To Pass The Ball

We’ve all seen players who ignore their team and try to score on their own.  It usually doesn’t end well for them and drives a rift into the team’s dynamic.  Whether it’s hubris, insecurity, lack of trust, or a need to prove themselves, people will often hold on to their metaphorical basketballs instead of letting their team assist.  Bring your team together and make sure they know that asking for help is okay.  You should all be helping each other reach the same company goals.  Anyone who is “hogging the ball” needs to be asked why they feel the need to perform that way.  Once you have your answer, you can work together on a solution.

Whether you're scoring touchdowns or meeting sales goals, there’s a lot to learn from the world of professional sports.  By creating a positive team mindset and communicating your shared goals, you’ll be feeling like champions in your own field. 

 

By Aubrey Dion

Aubrey Dion is proud to be back working for the family business she grew up in. Over the years, she has performed a wide variety of jobs in both the office and factory, becoming a true "jack of all trades." Aubrey credits her quick learning ability to her strong theatre background, where memorization and attention to detail are vital. Working in the marketing department allows her to stay creative and work on exciting new projects for the company.

Sources

Psychology Today - Build A Team Culture for Athletic Success

Inc - Use These Great Examples of Sports Teamwork to Grow Your Business

Monster - 5 Teamwork Lessons from the World Cup

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