The qualities and values that make great professional sporting leaders are similar to those of great business leaders. I recently heard Laura Geitz, former Australian and Queensland netball captain, speak at a function and was struck by the similarities regarding leadership in the sporting and business worlds.
Here are 5 Gems of Advice Laura shared that helped her achieve the ultimate leadership position in Australian netball and can also be applied to business leadership:
Be yourself – On her first game as Captain for Australia, Laura said she tried to be like the sporting leaders she admired. This game was against New Zealand and played in front of a highly patriotic Dunedin crowd of supporters. Laura played so poorly that she was benched and the Diamonds lost the game. After thinking she’d be sacked as Captain, her Coach’s only advice the next day was to “be herself’”. Laura had been trying to model herself off other successful coaches but it wasn’t true to her significant strengths and talents as a leader and player.
Follow your Passion – Say “yes” to opportunities and keep pushing yourself – even if it scares you. Be passionate about what you do and inspire others with your purpose and vision for what they do.
Similar advice can be found in my book, The CEO Secret Guide to Managing and Motivating Employees. CEOs are advised to be authentic to their own drivers and values and in their communication, define clearly the organisation’s vision, to also be aware of their strengths and limitations so they can make them work for them.
Embrace challenges – Laura says you’ll be surprised what you’re capable of. Confront challenges head-on, minimise risk and learn from failures and wins.
Don’t be complacent - Laura believes the two enemies of success in sport are; complacency and contentment. There are always new competitors and other players coming through and athletes need to be ahead of the game and at their best in terms of positions, skills and fitness.
In business, this means innovation and making sure you have the people and technology capabilities to be a leader in your industry. Constantly look for ways to improve your product and/or service offering by assessing your customer’s needs, competitor activity and/or technology opportunities.
Value your support network – Express your gratitude to the people who give you support. In business, this translates to valuing the capabilities and efforts of your team.
You can find more insights into what makes a great business leader in The CEO Secret Guide to Managing and Motivating Employees.
For further guidance on business leadership contact Harrison Human Resources.