How to Manage a Your Team Like a Winning Sports Coach!

Do You Still Have the Olympic Buzz?

Are you still buzzing from watching the Olympics? World records and Olympic records were smashed at Tokyo 2020, making it hard not to still be pumped from the excitement the games have created.

Olympic stars like Simone Biles, Karsten Warholm, Katie Ledecky, Naomi Osaka, and Zhang Yufei are just a few headliners at this year’s Olympics. These athletes are always on TV, the news, social media, and plastered on advertisements, so naturally the focus is always on them.

However, behind the scenes are coaches that help these stars achieve their greatness! The margins between winning and losing are small but the greatest coaches can identify what approach to take with athletes to push their buttons and spur them on to win gold!

Even though you and your team aren’t sprinting down the tracks or racing down the pools, the concept of a good coach and athlete dynamic still applies to a business environment. A good sports coach is usually a motivator, trusting, committed, observant, disciplined, a good communicator, goal-orientated, and patient, all of which are great characteristics for leaders at work.

Instilling the right mentality is vital for coaches to get the best out of their athletes and you should be doing the same for your team. Here’s what you should be doing when managing employees:

Adjust Your Approach for Each Employee

Everyone is different, so your approach to managing employees should be different for each individual. Some need a hands-off approach while others may need a more personal approach. Cristiano Ronaldo famously described his manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, as his “footballing father” due to his personal approach with him.

“It was a family with him. He was a football father for me.”
Cristiano Ronaldo on his Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Cristiano Ronaldo with Sir Alex Ferguson
Image Credit: PA Media

Regarded as one of the best managers of all time, he identified the correct method of management with his players. Although Ronaldo had the talent and work ethic, it was the environment his manager created that gave him the confidence and propelled him to all-time greatness.

Ask yourself if you are adjusting your approach to deal with each employee. Do you know their personality? What motivates them? Or how they need to be led? You shouldn’t have a one-size-fits-all management style or try to change the individual. Instead, you should be creating a work environment that fosters their skills and plays to their strengths. Utilise employee branding services and cultivate a healthy workplace environment that boosts morale and improves talent retention.

More “We” and Less “Me”

“Good teams become great ones when the members trust each other enough to surrender the ‘Me’ for the ‘We’.”
Phil Jackson, Former NBA Head Coach

11-Time NBA Winning Head Coach Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan
Image Credit: ESPN

11-Time NBA-winning head coach, Phil Jackson, put it simply by saying trust is the essence of a great team. We’ve all heard the phrase “there is no ‘I’ in team”, and this applies perfectly in a work environment. If you are only ever focused on your own goals and neglect other people’s targets, you will only damage the trust and respect your colleagues have for you.

You don’t demand respect, you earn it. As the leader of a team, you are the one responsible for creating a culture of trust and this begins with showing your employees respect. Do this with open and honest communication. Show them you want to help them achieve their goals by mentoring them through productive conversation, setting targets, and constructive feedback.

A good manager needs to reflect on their performance. It is also important to get comments from your team on their thoughts on your strengths and weaknesses. If you feel like the employee is reluctant to share, make the feedback anonymous to develop more trust.

Get Them Back on Their Feet

“Treat a person as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat him as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”
Jimmy Johnson – Former NFL Head Coach

Jimmy Johnson Pro Football Hall of Famer
Image Credit: Pro Football Hall of Fame

Everyone will go through phases of disengagement and standards will drop. It’s easy for you to accept this mediocrity but you shouldn’t because you know they aren’t performing to their potential. Getting the team back on track is the most difficult task any manager can face.

Start by identifying what is wrong. Their problems may not necessarily be from work. They could be having troubles in their personal lives or even with their health. Nevertheless, try pick them up from their problems as this could persist and affect morale.

It is not always possible for you to identify the problem as your employees may not want to talk about personal issues. Utilise your company’s resources like Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), wellness activities, and medical benefits by actively promoting participation.

After resolving the issue, it’s time to motivate them again and turn them into the champion employees you know they are!

Want to build a business reputation of good leadership to attract and retain the best employees? See how we can fine-tune your employer brand and fast-track your company to workforce success!

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