I might not be a very great fan of football but I really like the vibes of our country when world cup comes in because of the emotions people attach to the game and the warmth they share with each other.
It’s just so good and satisfying to see the supporters of one team united and become friends so quickly even though they might be complete strangers just an hour ago. Along with developing unity and warmth, one very important thing sports also does is bring a great range of lessons with itself. I would like to share a few lessons I have internalized in my life by watching sports:
1. Observation is as good a learning mechanism as is the experiential process:
In most of the games, a few substitution players are allocated in every team. Initially, they may seem unimportant. However, any small twist in the game, and substitute players come head on as saviors. Similarly, when interns or freshers join organizations, it is highly likely they are going to feel like extras who have got nothing better to do than observing others.
I still remember how we had to do our internships as a part of our college course and one of my classmates told me how she felt worthless for the first two weeks of her internship as all she did was see her supervisor hustling yet not being able to help him. She was given work slowly only after the 2nd week and only then she restored her confidence.
One thing I learnt from my friend is her ability to not give up. As I said earlier, even though the substitute players in games and freshers in organizations might feel they are doing nothing sitting at one faraway corner, they are actually investing their energy in learning about the dynamics of their work through the mechanism of observation.
2. A goal is an achievement for every team member:
Imagine, how pathetic a game of soccer would look like, if all players did was look for an opportunity to score goal by themselves without trusting their team members to kick the ball toward them at all!
Trust is a crucial element for teamwork to become effective. In organizational teams, when the foundation of trust is not well built, it leads to situations where one person in the team feels overstressed while not delegating tasks to others at all.
During my sophomore year in college, we had a very diverse team working on an assignment of Human Resource Management. However, one of our team members was very specific about proofreading of the report and it so happened that we had our assignment submission at 12 pm and she had a movie plan from 8 to 11 pm. We tried putting the pressure off her by assuring that we would proofread the assignment and submit it, yet she just wasn’t ready to delegate and she cancelled her movie date for the submission of the project itself.
I felt sad for my teammate but this incident really taught me how important trust can be. If there is no trust in a team, it leads to nothing more than a gathering of different people all with skills of their own which remains unused and wasted.
3. Awaiting the moment of ‘Man of the Match’ declaration:
While watching cricket, I always wait for the ceremonious celebration of ‘Man of the Match’ whereby the best team players are recognized. In my school days too, what often motivated me to study hard was the recognition I received when I scored well. That recognition and feeling of pride kept me going.
In organizations too, if the employees who work hard are appreciated and recognized for the work they do, the recognition itself can became a major motivating factor for them pushing them forward.
Watching sports can be much more than just a leisure. It’s amazing to see our favorite teams work in such perfect synchronization. This can be a major source of inspiration for us to work in organizational teams effectively embracing the roller-coaster ride towards our career than fearing it!