In a lot of different ways, managing a successful organisation can be likened to managing a team of soccer players. The similarities between these two different professions other than ‘People management’ can range from how to approach conflicts to how to make a team work together. Considering these two fields; sports and Human Resource Management seem to have a lot in common, here are a few things HR Practitioners can learn from sports that could be useful in running an organisation;

1. Celebrate everything;

not just goals

When watching any competition with opposing teams, you will notice that the fans watching the match applaud when players exhibit skill or make a great move, whether or not it earns the team points. This goes to show that fans appreciate the players making the right decisions; and making the right decisions could most likely lead to a goal. Similarly, HR Managers should be ready to celebrate or acknowledge an employee when they get something right. This will go a long way to boost the morale of the employee.

2. The Entire team wins

when a player wins

In a game of football, when a player scores a goal, you notice that the entire team, coaches, and fans all celebrate the win. Some credit goes to the player, but the entire team wins at the end of the day. Similarly, HR Managers should let all workers in the company understand that they each contribute to helping the organisation win. From the manager who closed the deal, to the front desk executive who first greeted the customer pleasantly, everyone is a key player in the game!

3. Transform negative experiences

into positive action

The world of boxing watched as Anthony Joshua lost his heavyweight champion titles to the underdog Andy Ruiz Jnr. In a bout that has been called the the shock of the century by some newsrooms across the world. In about six months, Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jnr had a rematch and Anthony Joshua came out as a two-time heavyweight champion. Anthony Joshua lost a ton of weight to develop speed in the boxing ring and if you had seen the second bout on 7th December 2019, you will understand that Anthony used the negative experience of losing his titles to Andy into a positive action, using a different strategy and coming out victorious. This is the kind of response and mindsets HR Managers need to inculcate in the minds of their employees. 

4. Discipline when required

In some sports, high-flying players who are considered “stars” of the game could get arrogant and undermine the authority of sports officials such as referees, umpires, etc. In every case of misbehavior, misdemeanor, or other, there should be some form of accountability in place, to keep players in check. The game of football has red cards, the game of basketball has fouling out, etc. Disciplinary tracking in the workplace needs to be given more attention. It is crucial to ensure employees adhere to company policies and statutory regulations. Checks and balances in place should be clearly communicated to deter any employee from acting in a way that goes against the goodwill of the company. 

There is a tall list of lessons the corporate world can learn from the world of sports. Here are few to get started with. No sport runs smoothly without a team; even if a singular athlete is in a competition, there is always a group of minds working to support, train and encourage that athlete. In the same vein, no organisation can run effectively without a group of minds working to push the company towards meaningful impact. These two; the world of sports and world of work (HR Practitioners) could learn a lot from each other! 


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