4 Leadership Strategies To Learn From Pro Athletes

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What can a corporate leader or entrepreneur learn from professional athletes? If you really study their work ethic and analyze their approach to the tasks that lie before them, they share many similar traits to a successful and engaging leader.

Athletes pour their heart and soul into their work. They have taken risks to achieve a new level of success. Daily, rigorous practice allows them to improve their skills for the betterment of both their personal careers and for the team as a whole. Sounds like the traits of a great employee to me.

What you don’t see in any of these competitors is people trying to do the bare minimum. You never see a player trying “not to lose.” Instead, they’re playing to win, and win big. Does your team strive to be the best, or do they work just enough to get by?

As an advisor, this is a common problem I see in many of today’s businesses. Employees may meet their goals, but just barely. They only do as they are instructed instead of going above and beyond for the company and for themselves. Instead of trying to be proactive risk takers, they settle for following orders.

We all can learn a lot from watching these players compete. Here are the top four elements of an athlete’s mindset that a leader should encourage in their office:

1. A player is nothing without his or her team. While many of us feel we would be better off doing all our work by ourselves, teamwork and collaboration or essential to a company’s success. Every person brings a unique skillset and trait to the overall business and leaders have a responsibility to emphasize the importance of team unity.

2. You have to study the opponent. Now obviously, I’m not talking about a literal opponent, although you may want to consider studying your company’s competitors more often. Instead, every obstacle and problem your team faces on a daily basis is an opponent and a roadblock to success. Before you dive in, assess the situation, and learn the best approach. While your team may already be used to doing this, there may be more efficient methods that ensure these problems never pop up again. Instead of trying to solve problems “for now,” try to come up with permanent solutions that will improve the whole infrastructure of your team.

I once worked with a company whose shipments were always late. To appease the customer, they often upgraded delivery speeds and ended up paying the courier a good deal of money. Unfortunately, this was a common occurrence. We investigated the issue, and to my surprise, the issue wasn’t in their warehouse, it was with their parts supplier, which was always late. After finding the problem and providing a long-term solution, we ended up saving the company a substantial amount of money.

3. Keep the long-term goal in mind. Whether your employees are stuck in their day-to-day work or focusing on a special project, it’s important to keep the goal of all the work in mind. For basketball, football, and baseball players, it’s that shiny trophy and a spot in sports history. For your employees, it may be new sales, lower costs or the successful implementation of a new system. This will help your team have a focused drive and determination that is needed for success and a team victory.

4. Review your downfalls. Professional athletes don’t win by ignoring all their mistakes. Neither will your employees. Those with strong ambitions go above and beyond instead of just matching the status quo. As such, they try to hone their skills and improve areas in which they aren’t as proficient.

At my friend Rachel’s business, the whole team meets every Friday to review their productivity and efficiency. They determine what areas need work on an individual and group level and tackle the next week with fresh eyes. I love the way Rachel gives her team responsibility and encouragement.

As you can see, there is a lot that a leader and his or her team can learn from watching professional athletes compete. Every member of your business should play to win, never to “not lose.” With a champion’s mindset, you will see a new level of success in your company and employees.

Read the rest of this article at Inc.com: http://ow.ly/NE0V30bn8zh

           
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