Developing Effective Leadership Qualities through Sport

Leadership qualities

Leadership qualities

“Although sport can be black and white – win or lose – whereas business has many tints of grey, the mix of ingredients and traits is the same. Our experience in professional sport can be a positive aid to your business when managing change or building a team.”

  •  Mike Friday

Leadership in sport can therefore be an excellent analogy to leading a corporate team in the business world. The same skills (if extended beyond the field and brought to the workplace) could foster team spirit, build trust and boost performance through motivation and encouragement.

Here is how leadership lessons learned through Mike’s experience can be transferred to the business arena to achieve professional success and personal growth.


Teamworking teaches everyone to do their part to the best of their ability. It involves delegation of tasks and the ability to build a cohesive team based on loyalty and mutual respect. Team spirit is second nature to sportspersons; and this trait is an invaluable asset at the workplace where the success of any project totally depends on effective planning and co-operation.

Self-discipline and self-motivation

The sheer challenges faced by athletes and sportspersons teach them the value of discipline, resilience and sacrifice in order to achieve their goals. They understand how individual performance contributes towards that of the entire team and are therefore always seeking to improve themselves by learning new skills. When this trait crosses over to the workplace it is bound to result in exemplary leadership and in turn lead to outstanding success.

Strategy and organisational skills

Sport gives its players ample opportunities to devise game plans and smart strategies to help them win. They systematically analyse their opponents’ game and carry out careful research on their strengths and weaknesses. Game plans are tweaked before every match depending on whom they are playing against. This kind of dynamic planning before every game is a trait that proves an absolute winner in the workplace.

While the above are skills learned in the sporting world that can be directly transferred to the corporate world, there are also the following leadership qualities you develop through active participation in sport.

Vision: Sports players work towards a specific aim and break it up into achievable milestones – a habit that helps them focus on short and long-term goals. For a leader, having vision is almost a prerequisite, thus having this quality ingrained in you sets you apart from the crowd.

Ambition: This is probably the single most important factor that drives motivation. The desire to be a winner brings out the best in people and an able leader can sow the seeds of ambition in the team, getting everyone fired up to achieve the common goal.

Empathy: In team sport, a genuine leader cares about individual team members, understands their problems and is aware of their unique personal situation. As a team they face a multitude of challenges and it is these shared experiences that refine leadership skills. An empathetic leader is like a breath of fresh air in the corporate scenario as he or she can demonstrate the humane side of effective leadership.

To know more, get in touch with us at Bounce Life.