Opinion

What sport can teach us about leadership

2023 has been a massive year for sport in Australia and according to Carat Investment Director, Sasko Bosilkovski, there are plenty of leadership lessons we can learn from it and translate it to media and marketing. Here are just a few tips.

2023 has been a stellar year for sport. From the leadership of Sam Kerr as the Matildas won hearts around the world during the World Cup to the Diamonds putting netball back on the front foot with their stunning World Cup victory and of course, the Penrith Panthers making history with their third premiership in a row.

Nathan Clearly’s leadership was a key to the success, much like with Sam Kerr and the Matildas, and there is a lot all leaders can learn from these sporting legends.

1. Embrace transformation

Rugby requires constant movement and decision-making flexibility. Unlike other sports, where the coach makes a play-by-play decision, the rugby coach’s goal is to get the squad to the point where they can alter and make decisions on the field.

This leadership style encourages change, which is becoming increasingly important. If business sustainability is decreasing steadily, leaders must welcome constant change to remain relevant and competitive.

2. Communicate clearly

Without regular and clear communication, no sporting team could be effective. Teams must know and believe that they can count on one another. This requires teammates articulating next steps and maintaining a continual stream of communication.

Communication skills are also a must for today’s leaders. Leaders must be able to define their purpose and the steps necessary to achieve it, while maintaining open and honest communication with their teams.

Sasko Bosilkovski

3. Learn from diversity

Within anyteam, it’s critical to bring together a variety of skills. Embracing variety contributes to the development of a team atmosphere in which each individual adds unique skillsets to the team’s overall strength.

In the workplace, this translates to a desire to broaden your network, embrace outside perspectives, and learn from a variety of perspectives. When you collaborate with people from various backgrounds and areas of skill, amazing work can happen.

4. You have to keep your emotions in check

On the field, the team, particularly the captain, must constantly have a cool, calm, and collected demeanour, otherwise they will not work effectively together or win any games. Great teams keep their emotions in check and constantly support one another, no matter what has happened or if one of its team players has made a mistake, the Matiladas 10 penalty shoot-out against France is a shining example of this

In business, demonstrating your humanity strengthens connections with your teams, but you must strike a good balance. Threatening, bullying, and yelling will not inspire your team to do great job. When you symbolically burn everything down, you don’t rally the troops.

5. Be willing to step out and take a risk

If the set plays aren’t working, a good team must be ready to take risks on the field. Consider the Penrith Panthers, who have won three consecutive championships (2021, 2022 & 2023). Nathan Cleary’s right-hand man, went off in the second half with a shoulder injury and Nathan had to the play the entire second half on his own which he had to improvise and take risks to win the game

The ability to take initiative and do something first is a fear that a lot of people have. Leaders aren’t the ones yelling orders from the back of the army. They’re the ones on the front lines of business, leading the charge. When a leader takes a risk, it inspires others to do the same.

What does this mean for any leader?

The team’s effort and hard work puts them in a position to be champions at the end of the year. These practical principles sustained from sport illustrate how anyone can bring value to a business by putting them into practice. You’ll learn how to create a leadership philosophy that is true to your values, how to successfully manage and obtain results from individuals and teams, how to create a high-performance culture, and how to provide value to the business – in other words, the ingredients that make a leader.

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