Former athletes often make strong business leaders. That’s because many of the skills they developed playing sports can be applied to other tasks.
HR professionals should learn from them. If you do have employees who were previously competitive athletes, coordinate with them to leverage their full potential. If you haven’t hired such workers yet, consider doing so.
Former athletes can help you improve everything from employee onboarding to internal brand engagement. The following are key reasons why:
They Know How to Work Towards Goals Passionately
Being an athlete is all about working to achieve specific goals. That’s why former athletes often excel at setting goals in other contexts, including professional contexts.
That said, being goal-oriented is a trait possessed by many employees. Athletes are unique in that they understand how to get themselves and everyone they work with genuinely enthusiastic about reaching them.
After all, sports are both competitive and team-oriented. Athletes need to be passionate about their goals in order to succeed. They also need every team member to be equally passionate. An incredibly talented and dedicated player still won’t win games unless they’re surrounded by people who are as committed as they are.
Athletes learn this early. Thus, they also learn how to motivate others. In other words, athletes can help you identify strategies for boosting morale and productivity among your workers. Discuss this topic with any former athletes your company employs to find out if they have any ideas.
They Know How to Handle Disputes
Again, sports players need to work together to win games. They obviously can’t succeed if they don’t get along.
However, the lives of pro athletes involve a significant amount of pressure. They’ve worked their entire lives to get a position on a team. Every year, there’s a chance they won’t be hired again. This uncertainty can lead to interpersonal challenges. Athletes must learn to resolve disputes efficiently so they can continue working together to reach a common goal.
Thus, athletes typically develop strong conflict resolution skills that HR and management can learn from. Former sports players can teach you and others at your business how to align priorities between team members who are struggling to get along. They can help employees address any problems while also directing their focus back to achieving their goals.
They Identify What Works
Elite athletes compete with the best in the world. They know they can’t enjoy long careers if they aren’t willing to constantly improve. Thus, they often have self-discipline and an enthusiasm for learning that can rub off on their coworkers.
They also understand how to identify what types of activities are delivering results. Practice isn’t enough. It’s also crucial for sports players to review their performances. If a particular training method isn’t working, they’ll focus on another exercise.
Your organization may invest in employee training and development programs. However, it’s also necessary to pay attention to how effective those programs are at actually bringing about improvements in engagement and productivity. A former athlete can teach others how to identify the tactics that work.
They Know How to Manage Time
Pro athletes tend to be very busy. They have rigorous training schedules, they need to attend games throughout the season, and they need to coordinate with coaches and other players. Some also need to fit in promotional events.
This makes pro athletes very good at time management. Maintaining productivity is vital. They can’t afford to waste a single minute of their days.
That’s why it’s a good idea to review company processes with employees who used to play sports. Whether it’s the way a supervisor schedules daily tasks or the way managers develop timelines for projects, there may be inefficiencies that athletes are particularly qualified to identify and correct.
These are merely a few ways former athletes can help HR and management improve the way a company operates. Keep these points in mind if you have hired (or are planning to hire) any former sports pros. They may offer significant value.