What Team Leaders Can Learn from a Game of Football

John Madden is quoted as stating, “self-praise is for losers. Be a winner. Stand for something. Always have class, and be humble.” People who are involved in leadership work with a group of people, much like a football coach helps lead a football team on and off the field. True leaders are defined by those who lift others each and every day. To be prideful is a costly attribute, one which often leads to sorrow, loss and depression. On the other hand, choosing to help and serve others will help demonstrate the character which a small business leader needs in order to successfully guide a team in day to day operations.

The attribute of service may not be presently apparent in the game of football, but dig a little deeper and it becomes clear that a team who serves each other is closer in friendships and carries greater morale throughout the season. Leaders in small businesses who demonstrate service in the workplace can likewise experience great morale and as a result, build their teams up in strength and courage. It is necessary for leaders to sacrifice their own pride and choose to serve others that will build the foundation for an attitude of service. 

It may feel uncomfortable or less-than-natural to say “I’m sorry”, realize mistakes and accept the human condition of imperfection. Another characteristic of great football players is their humility towards teammates as well as opponents. In the workplace, teams and their leaders who openly acknowledge the faults of self and actively apologize for wrongdoings are more likely to move past moments of difficulty and experience better results. As published by Indeed, coworkers are more “likely to contribute to increased productivity as employees and other staff members want to… collaborate with each other”. This increased collaboration is something that cannot be overlooked by small business leaders who are looking to take their team to the next level. 

Service and humility, two closely related characteristics, can help make or break a football team. It is highly recommended that leaders in small businesses apply these same attributes to help build and lift their team towards small victories that lead to greater ones. When people fall short in football and business alike, respectable leaders help show the way by ministering and showing meekness, not weakness.