• Monday, February 26, 2024
businessday logo


Soccer 101 – Leadership lessons


For those of you who are not big soccer enthusiasts or die-hard fans, you might not be aware the annual soccer season for most leagues is about to kick-off. Soccer seasons last approximately 10 months and are organised by various soccer associations all over the world. With billions of fans globally, soccer is arguably the most popular sport and you will find that successful players and teams always have a story. Taking a closer look at their stories and there’s renewed learning that we can apply to boost employee engagement in our workplace.

Successful soccer teams master the art of team work: Soccer is a game based entirely on team work. A soccer team is made of managers, trainers, medical personnel, and players who depend on each other every season to win games. Everyone is important to the team if games are to be won. Soccer philosophy in the workplace is managers building team players and taking necessary steps to cultivate a culture of team work in their organizations.

Provide good leadership: The tides are turning. Soccer coaches are beginning to discover they can’t take their teams far if they don’t provide good leadership. Leadership is bigger than a position. It is a commitment not to focus and lay emphasis on a person’s weaknesses, but to daily work with them overcome their weakness, spot their strengths and employ them for the good of the company. As a line leader, it is your responsibility to identify and unlock the talents ofthe players in your team for the success of your company. People are engaged when they are convinced that their supervisor cares about their development.

Consistently give feedback on performance: Soccer is a performance based sport. When a player is not pulling his or her weight in the team, the onus lies with the manager to give the player that feedback and explore ways to work with the player to ramp up his development. Effective employee engagement is performance based.

Effectively communicate: successful soccer coaches are mostly good communicators. A good manager listens and communicates effectively so find what works with each team member.

Train your people: in the game of soccer, geniuses are birth via training and practice. Training employees to become better at what they do is a great engagement motivator. People want to make meaningful progress. When emphasis is placed on training in a company (which isn’t only classroom training) such action is associated with the goodwill of management to the growth and development of their people.

For the soccer fans, identify lessons from the game that can help drive engagement within your teams. Paying attention to employee engagement pays!

Ngozi Adebiyi