Sports and leadership

What do sports activities have to do with leadership?  Plenty!  Getting involved in a team sport at a young age (or as early as possible) is a terrific way to learn teamwork, build healthy relationships and establish a satisfying and physically active hobby for a lifetime.  Growing up, we had a very sports friendly neighborhood.  My brother and I spent a few hours each day playing the sport of the season: basketball, baseball, football, swimming or tennis with our neighborhood or school friends.  Our championship high school tennis team established friendships, confidence and a positive work ethic to last a lifetime.  My brother was guided into his very successful executive career largely as a result of the charisma and character he displayed on the tennis court during college.  While in the Navy, I played tennis with far more senior officers (me an Ensign, they Commanders and above), as a result of my excellent tennis abilities.  Everyone enjoys sharing a sports enthusiasm with someone who is both a skilled player and easy to get along with.  It’s been truly said that you should play golf with someone before hiring them.  The quality of their game doesn’t matter as much as how they respond to setbacks, their ability to laugh at themselves and their courtesy toward others.   Many potential employees have been hired or advanced by virtue of their sports personae.  I would add that it’s also a good idea to share a meal and take a brief car ride with a future workmate (or spouse) to get a snapshot of their character and personality.  There is truth in the saying that sports helps to build positive character and teamwork, in addition to enhancing a healthy lifestyle.  It can also improve relationships within families and with those with whom you work, both above and below your position, not to mention being a healthy stress relief.  “Fore!”  Or, love, set, touchdown, splash, swoosh…

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