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What Can Businesses Learn from Teamwork in Sport?

on 13 February 2018


Posted by Kevin Senior

Teamwork is one of the key elements in the success of any group of people. Without this, you just get a bunch of individuals doing their own thing without any concern for the overall results.

However, getting a team that works together smoothly is a huge challenge for any company. Therefore, it can be a good idea to look at how this is done in the world of sports.

Is there anything that the best sports teams do that businesses should copy, or at least be inspired by?

The Importance of a Leader That Motivates

Look at any top-class sports team and you will see a powerful motivator behind them. This might be the manager, trainer, captain or someone else occupying some other sort of senior role.

The important point is that there is at least one person who is driving them on and forcing them to maintain their high standards. Indeed, in some of the most successful teams there are often a number of “born leaders” who take on this role at different times and in varying situations.

In business, the presence of motivation is just as vital. Of course, many of us need to get trained in this area to get it right, while others seem to have a natural sense of how to motivate others in a positive, powerful way.

The motivation needed tends to change over time in sport, just as in business. From trying to become the best, the focus may switch to how to maintain this position once it is maintained, which can be an even tougher task.

Good Communication Matters

Study a good sports team in action and you are likely to see a lot of communication going on. This may involve shouting instructions to one another, pointing or making gestures that show what should happen next.

Often, the most important person won’t be who is fittest or has the highest level of skill. It will be the team member who is able to communicate instructions and make sure that everyone else is working to the same goals.

In any company a high level of communication is just as crucial, as this is what allows everyone to pull in the same direction and aim for the same goals. This is especially true in businesses where people are based in different locations and rarely see each other.

Fortunately, modern technology makes this easier to deal with. By using online collaboration software it is easy to communicate effectively with the people who matter, regardless of where they are.

Confidence in Each Other

A player in a world class team doesn’t want to worry about whether they need to cover for a weak team member. Instead, they need to have complete confidence that their team mates will help them out when needed and are capable of doing whatever is asked of them.

The same principles apply in the business world too. No team can operate to a high standard if the individual workers don’t have faith in each other to do an excellent job.

This is why a lot of successful teams invest in confidence building and team bonding exercises that encourage people to work together, form meaningful relationships and develop trust. Learning to believe in colleagues is a matter that is too important for any team to overlook.

A Strong Team Spirit Leads to Fun

A lot of the training work carried out in any business should be focused on building up a strong team spirit. This is something that can happen naturally over time, but taking control of the situation by running team bonding exercises can help to speed it along greatly.

Having said that, getting a strong team spirit isn’t just about working faster or better. If you look at the example of the most successful sports teams you will see that they all seem to genuinely enjoy playing together (it works both ways, of course, and being successful will tend to make work more enjoyable for anyone).

Therefore, it is ideal if you can add some fun to the team as well. This can be done by encouraging them to get to know each other at meetings and away days.

Another good idea is to introduce fun, team-based goals that they can work together to achieve. This sort of approach is ideal for getting people to understand that their overall success depends upon their colleagues as well as on their own hard work.


About this author: Kevin Senior

Managing Director at Glasscubes. With over 30 years experience working with businesses of all sizes and industries, Kevin brings success to fast growing companies advising on best practices and growth lead technology solutions.