What can sports teach you about building a strong team?

team leadershpWhenever we watch sports, there will be two teams of audience. The first team of audience will be interested in the results of the game. Who’s winning? Who scored the goal? What happened during the match? Who’s the man of the match?

On other hand, we have the second team of audience, people who are interested in the build up of the play. They will throw up with statements like “Wow, they can really work well!” “The team manager must have played his star players at the right position” “The team who win deserved it because of a combined effort!”

Did you see the difference?

Many sport enthusiast will focus on the first group of audience – the people who are interested in the fun of the game. However, sports is not just about a score. It is also not about super star players only. Many companies and executives have used sports as a topic to inculcate teamwork, leadership, team spirt, and peak performance.

No, we are not referring to getting the executives to train up and learn to play sports as a team. They are using the strong principles behind winning teams in sports to apply to their corporate work culture. They will analyse the core winning principles why some sport teams flourish, while some flounder.

As shared by TeamTrainingSingapore on team leadership, “If we analyze sports, you will see that winning teams are successful not because of a superstar player, but of a superstar team. Only when you have people who can work together and achieve together, then you can have a winning team.”

Team Training Singapore focuses on developing teams in Singapore through its leadership training and team building in Singapore and about Asia.

Now, let’s look closer to what makes a winning team. First, it is definitely the team manager. The manager has to know how to lead, and where to lead its people. This goes the same for companies. The CEO is the one leading the company. He has to know where the team is going, and know how to bring them there.

Just like a sports team, the CEO has to set the goals for the team to work towards them and achieve. The goals have to be clear, and everyone must understand the goal clearly. Clarity is power. When the leader is clear, the team members will be clear.

What’s next after the leader? Everyone in the team! 

Most leadership principles focus on the leader only, and not on the team members. That’s a big mistake. The leader is good only if he has a good working team behind him. When the team is able to focus on a core mission and work together towards that mission, then we have a strong team here!

The team members must also know their individual role. Just like an orchestra. Even though it is made up of different instruments, every musician know specifically what their role is in the orchestra, and they know what to play.

This is exactly the same for the corporate team. Yes, people have their own roles, and they have to be clear about their own roles. Only this way, we can maximise the person’s potential. When everyone in the team plays to their best in their role, the whole team is a high performing team!

Hence you see, sports is never about kicking a ball around, seeing a manager shouting from his bench, or players hugging one another in celebration. There are science, principles and lessons to learn behind building each winning team.

Now you have come to the end of the article. The way you look at sports and leadership will not be the same again.

Why I will teach my child sports

When we talk about education for a child, we always include sports as one of the education that we would like our children to develop in. You see, most parents focus more on the academic side of education, such as learning new languages, learning how to draw, picking up a musical instrument.

These aspect of education do have their own benefits. However, they always take precedence over sports. Sports, to some parents, are seen as ‘play’. Some may even see it as playing time, and children may not learn so much about life from playing sports.

However, this is really wrong. In this article, I will share why I want to get my child to pick up a few sports right from a young age. Don’t get me wrong! I’m still going to send him to school, and probably one or two enrichment classes. Unlike most parents, sports will be a priority.

As a sportsman myself, I can say sports really benefit my life. Fitness wise, I can say I am kind of healthy and fit to run 10km easily, even at age of 40 years old. Mind you, I’m still working full-time in a corporate job, and my only exercise time is in the morning before I start work. But being involved in sports during the weekend has helped my fitness up.

Other than just fitness, sports can help me to build bonds with people, especially my colleagues. Through playing sports, I even connected with my old school mates of almost 30 years. I play different sports, such as Football, Tennis, Basketball, and Badminton. These sports are mostly team games and this give me the chance to work in teams with people, even strangers whom I know through the game itself.

If we look further into sports, and if you do play sports, you will know that it is not just about physical fitness. It is also about strategies. When you play football, you need to know the formation, you need to learn how to pass the ball and play as a team. When you play tennis, you need to know what is your opponent’s weakness so that you can beat them. All these strategies in playing sports help in getting the person to think and strategize mentally. Hence, there’s a big advantage in playing sports where it can help you physically and mentally.

So you see, with the huge benefits I have received throughout my life, I realised that these skills can help develop a person on many important life skills – team work, physical and mental strength, and communication. And most importantly, they are healthier!

As said above, my child will definitely learn a few sports. I’m not sure what he will like in the end, but he will get to try all and see which sports he love most. From there, he may then focus on playing a few sports well. Will he become a professional sportsman? Well, that’s up to him!

This article is contributed by Michael Jim, an HR manager in a MNC and an avid sportsman. We would like to thank him for contributing to our site and sharing with us his views on sports and education.