Does playing sports help people work better as a team at work?
Sports develops a team spirit in players so it is essential for all of us to take interest in games and sports. What is your experience?
Teams in sports and work groups do have some similarities but they are different. While people can learn valuable skills enabling them to work well with others fighting the opposing team, that approach isn't always a good fit in the workplace. I think it could depend on who people feel is the opponent within an organization. For example: In an organization, Sales people sometimes view Manufacturing and Production Scheduling people as obstacles, because they have different individual goals. They are often in conflict and can easily go into a mode of viewing one another as opponents. Sales people may need to deliver the product to the customer much sooner than the scheduling and production people can make that happen within operating and cost parameters they are required to follow. The way to overcome that issue is for senior management to focus all departments on the higher goal the business needs them to achieve, so that they will see one another as team members, vs. opponents/obstacles, and to work together to figure out how they'll meet customer needs.
I believe the skills of athletic teamwork that contribute to someone's ability to partner, help, and learn from others develop over years of constant sports team membership. If someone starts playing softball on the company team, that experience, in my opinion, probably will not have the same effect as long term team play on a sports team.
I believe that a number of conditions need to exist in order for real teamwork in the workplace. Heading the list in my head is that people at work need to have a common purpose and fulfilling roles within the group, and that a company culture of teamwork and performance needs to be built to produce real teamwork.
Thanks for listening.
I believe playing sports can be useful. However, not everyone is athletic - and many intelligent and capable people remember being the kid who got picked last for school teams. So, building a team through sport isn't popular with everyone.
Why not try urban adventuring? In Kelowna, BC, where I live, we have two sites: http://wildplay.com/kelowna and https://www.myracanyon.com/park where participants can tackle obstacle courses in beautiful natural settings.
The courses are set up for various skill levels, so that participants can choose routes to their capabilities. As each individual does a section of the course, their team members can cheer them on and offer encouragement. Courses are designed to be challenging but safe. Everyone wears a harness that connects them to a pulley system, so they can't fall.
Urban adventuring is becoming a popular pastime for all ages and abilities. It's also enjoyable for spectators. If you have met your match on a particular section of course, you can disembark and watch your team mates continue.
Are you suggesting that your fitness classes will make employees better employees. The answer is no! An engaged and purposeful life may be what your reaching for and being health and fit can be part of that, but you are looking for support of a selling strategy and people are not answering to your question..
Yes, yes, yes – at least in my experience. Sports teaches teamwork, conflict resolution, how to handle adversity and how to lose (not get your way); if it’s done the right way.
I’ve been part of professional teams with a strong sport-playing element and those without any, except me (soccer and basketball back in the day). A lot of non-sport playing workmates were great teammates and projects moved smoothly. Where I saw the biggest difference, though, was in my bosses.
One boss was a former athlete and he was awesome – my best boss EVER. I learned so much from him; things I could apply to the rest of my life. Then, I had the unfortunate experience of working for a non-sports playing boss who was always about himself. He didn’t know how to motivate or lead. He liked to divide and conquer instead of build a team that worked well together. He constantly attempted to pit teammates against each other and would become visibly annoyed, rattled even, when the team defended each other.
I like to believe he didn’t know how to do these things because he never had the experience of playing a team sport. If that’s not the case, then he was just a very toxic person who shouldn’t have been in charge of people.
Does that mean all sports-playing people make great workmates? Uh, no. Valuing individual contributions and highlighting their strengths, instead of setting them up to fail, is how you develop a team that works well together.
Depends upon the type of sport and the individual. Team sports do help build camaraderie, but it can be frustrating to be a good player on a lousy team. Some like being part of a team and sharing the experience (good or bad); while others prefer individual sports where what happens on the field of play depends entirely on their own performance.
In my experience, yes generally. However, sports are not essential for all of us.
I have been on winning and losing teams but even when my team was last place I still was picked on the All American team (or whatever it was called back then). I have to say that sports and a father that would beat me if I did shoddy work, developed a work habit in me that has stuck with me now into my 50's. Does sports make you a better worker? Yes. Does it guarantee a teamwork attitude? No.
Awesome things happen when you work as a team, which means you know where the others are strong and weak and you know which part you need to fill to help the entire team. However, most people only know their job and do their job and let the cards fall where they will because they are looking for personal success and not the success of the team. If the team fails they can always say they did their part and that is good enough for them.
In the company I'm at now we share space with another company but work better as a team than most companies I've worked for and you know the difference? The owner (of both companies) the top managers and myself will refill the paper towels and toilet paper when empty. We will wipe down other people's messes, we will give up our time to help train or assist others, etc. What that does is helps those on the bottom learn the value of helping at all levels. That, although we have our status, we never let status get in the way of being human. Although we do not tout teamwork, we just do it and with very little advertising, we double our revenues ever year, even when we run into problems.
We all grew up in sports and feel it helped us to do the work that needed to be done rather than the job we were called to do. Call it teamwork, being human or whatever you want but we like working together because none of us stand on the pedestal and we all do what needs to be done, even if it means our job suffers for a short time and we play catch up later. I don't know if that discipline would have been instilled in us without sports.
While playing in a team may help interaction in the workplace, I'd have thought the benefit is limited. Teams of workmates do not work in the same way in sport as they do in the workplace.
True, you can have people who have specialisms, but ultimately everyone who plays in sports teams has the same basic skills/ability/fitness. That is not true of colleagues and you also exclude those who are unfit, disabled, phobic, etc.
If you're suggesting thrusting people together into sporting scenarios for the benefit of work, I'd urge caution. Team-building exercises are largely exercises in extracting cash from businesses which have clueless management and don't understand how to manage their teams.
I would do everything I could to avoid such things, because they throw together people who don't really want to interact outside of the work setting.
And if it is sports-related, unless all of the teams are produced from your workforce, it would have to be when other people are available, ie after work.
If that's your idea, it sounds ghastly. Next you'll be suggesting people do group calisthenics and then sing the company song.
Having grown up playing competitive tennis for many years, I agree it is an individual sport, however, when playing on a team it definitely helps you being a team player.
It also gives you focus, discipline, goal-oriented and other traits which you need for a team effort.
Sports teaches a person how to get along with others and develops a common goal to reach for and not just individual achievements.
For some reason I have found myself thinking about this question since you posted it. My impression of what you are thinking is that since sports may required a coordinated team effort to be really successful will someone with a background in sports be better at working as part of a team.
My feelings with very little real experience is that it probably won't be a enough of a factor to use that as any hiring criteria.
First off many sports are more based on individual effort than teamwork. That would apply to baseball even though a batter may bunt to advance a runner to scoring position. It would apply to track, swimming, golf, tennis, bowling and many others where they really are more individual than working as a team. The two sports that come to my mind that are a team effort are football and basketball. Even within those sports it is more about doing your job and although you rely on others doing their job it is still very much based on individual performance.
My feelings are that looking at a past that involved sports is probably not a good indicator of someone's ability to work as part of a team. I think teamwork is something people are capable of or not.
Management sponsored employee interaction can be helpful primarily if the organization is "siloed". IMHO better to have work-related cross-functional assignments. Another option would be organizing volunteer work parties for a worthy cause like habitat. If you do any extraneous to work activities, remember not everyone is athletic or wants to pound nails.