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How Sport can Improve Team Relations

Author: Thomas Muller - Updated: 18 September 2012 | commentsComment
 
Sport Team Communication Relationships

Team sports are a great fun way to instil strong teamwork values in staff that have to work effectively together off the field.

Team Sport Spirit

As a sports team functions in much a similar way to a workplace team – with members cooperating with one another to achieve a common goal, sport participation is a good way of further instilling the important principles of teamwork in a group.

A lot of the same rules of the workplace team can be played out on the field or court. For example, if one person fails to pull their weight then the whole team performance will suffer. And conversely if one individual dominates then the performance of others will be adversely affected. Feeling undervalued and second best, their morale and motivation will droop. In both arenas the only way to achieve a victory is with a team working in harmony and on equal terms with one another.

As with sport, a team may comprise of the most brilliant individual talents but if they don’t work well together then the team will be worthless.

The Mechanics of a Good Team

It’s easy to accept that the key lessons of team sport are the same as those in the workplace, but beyond that what can sport teach employees about teams that they can’t pick up in the workplace?

For starters, the benefit of taking team relations out onto the field is in providing a more direct and boiled down display of how a team should function. On the field success is made or broken based on the effort - or lack of – of the competing players. If there are any weak links on the field, for example, then the upshot will be swift and decisive. It’s not so clear cut in the workplace where success and failure is not judged in super fast one hours bursts. Lazy individual members can generally drag the team down for a long time before the negative effects become apparent.

Therefore by participating in sports, team members learn the effectiveness of ‘pulling together’ in achieving a goal and hopefully apply the same principles to their work.

Team Bonding and Communication

Team sports not only instil a belief in the power of effective teamwork but also they help improve team bonding and the relationships between team members, so that they can better achieve that goal.

Encouraging staff to participate in team sports together on a regular basis is an excellent way to allow team members to get to know one another better and build up stronger and more productive relationships both on the field and in the workplace. Sport promotes a numbers of qualities that are valuable in the office, such as trust, respect, effective communication and good old fashioned comradeship.

If team members find success together on the football field or badminton court, for example, then the bond they form with one another will hold strong in the workplace context.

Often it doesn’t even matter whether certain people don’t get on in the workplace. On the sports field there is no room for frosty relations – for the sake of the team players must put their differences aside and cooperate. Hopefully success together can help people to put their petty differences aside off the field too.

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