Teamwork for the Win

Teamwork for the WinIt’s game time! The Super Bowl brings a lot of thing to mind: expensive ads, decadent appetizers…and teamwork.

Teamwork is as essential to your professional career as it is to a winning season on the field. And organized sports are well-known for helping foster teamwork, along with other essential success skills, from determination to graceful losing.

Whether you grew up playing sports as a kid, you’re on a recreational or corporate team now, or just love cheering on your favorite team, we all can learn something from the efforts we see on the field.

In honor of the Super Bowl, I’ve rounded up some recent reads that explore the important career skills sports can foster.

Playing Sports Develops C-Level Leadership Skills

“A significant barrier to leadership of any kind is having the opportunity to lead but lacking the skills to do so. In my opinion, the best way to grow your leadership skills and get comfortable with leading is by participating on a team, specifically a sports team. … In a survey of 400 women executives, 52% of C-suite women played sport at the university level, compared to 39% of women at other management levels. The correlation between success on the playing field and success in the workplace is indisputable.” — Fortune.

Sports and the Workplace Are a Winning Combination

“In a world where many people spend their work week sitting behind a desk, exercise and movement may be more important than ever, according to Carol Noel Michaels, director of Health Promotion and Wellness for Populytics/BeneFIT Corporate Wellness, part of the Lehigh Valley Health Network. ‘Our bodies were not designed to sit,’ Michaels said. ‘Human bodies were designed to move.’ Michaels said the focus on movement should carry on after work too, and bringing it together with social interaction could spell lasting success. ‘Group sports are very helpful for people to stay motivated and sustain a new change in their life,’ she said.” —  The Morning Call.

Youth Sports Skills: Something You Don’t Outgrow

“This report builds on prior research and suggests that participating in youth sports might influence the development of certain desirable skills and values. The authors recommend that questions about participation in youth sports be included in job interviews — even for candidates who are relatively far removed from high school — as such participation might have important implications for a person’s leadership capacity and other personality traits.” — Harvard Kennedy School’s Journalist’s Resource.

Sports Build Competitiveness and Strong Work Ethic

“EY Women Athletics Business Network and espnW conducted a survey making the connection between women, sports and leadership. Out of 400 respondents, 74% said a background in sports can help accelerate a woman’s career; 66% believe that athletes make excellent candidates for jobs because they’ve developed a strong work ethic, can be a team player, and have the determination to be a great employee; and 75% stated that competitiveness is an asset to their leadership style in the workplace.” —  Huffington Post.

Have sports helped you in your career? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Lindsey Pollak is the leading voice on millennials in the workplace, trusted by global companies, universities, the world’s top media outlets — and, most importantly, by millennials themselves. A New York Times bestselling author, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her keynote speeches have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.

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Lindsey is a globally recognized career and workplace expert and the leading voice on generational diversity. She has spoken for more than 300 audiences including Google, Goldman Sachs, Estee Lauder, Stanford and Wharton. Lindsey is the author of four career and workplace advice books, and her insights have appeared in media outlets including The TODAY Show, CNBC, NPR, the Harvard Business Review and the Wall Street Journal.


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