The relationship between managers and teams, much like sports' coaches and their athletes involves the following:
- Contingency plans put in place by management
- Team members considering their probable responses to taxing circumstances
Proficiency and Aptitude
Sportsmen and high management alike are always open to learning. They never make the mistake of thinking they are perfect. In fact not being entirely satisfied and always striving to do better are driving forces. In a business setting the manger would create an environment that encourages the development of team members' skills. Sometimes training programmes may be used, or employees can be mentored by other staff members who they can learn from.
A good athlete is capable of intense focus and has learned to direct energies only into what is important. To an extent he must be blinkered to avoid distraction. This characteristic in management can be invaluable. Some people will have an innate sense of that which is relevant and that which is not, these types therefore posses a natural ability to focus on the right things. Others may have to develop these skills or at least hone them.
In practice this means getting things done and keeping the end goal in sight. More action, less talk, in other words. In a business environment it's easy to get ensnared by meetings and memos but often a lot of valuable time is lost in administrative tasks and prolonged talk outs. Brainstorm, by all means, but get active as possible as soon as possible. Much like in the athlete's case, all the muscles of the business team need to be worked and exercised.
An unfocused work group that is badly managed may waste a great deal of time and energy talking about the ins and outs of a project rather than actually getting things done. This is a form of procrastination.
If you endless spend time talking about how to make money, you won't have any time to make money! This might be known as 'talking the talk but not walking the walk' syndrome.
With a sportsperson and his or her coach the objective is to win. When a business team has the same objective (and they all should) good coaching from management is vital. While every member of staff will be self-motivating to a degree, encouragement from management is always inspirational. When a one-to-one manager member relationship exists it is perhaps even more important to establish a good working bond, else there's the risk of the individual feeling the emphasis on them is too heavy to bear alone.
The athlete's coach knows when his protégé feel he can go on no longer, that's often when he pushes harder, confident of his charge's ability and endurance. But knowing when to stop is key too. Strike a happy balance between the two and both manager and team can share the rewards of victory.