Being a student athlete is such a rewarding experience. Not only do you form great friendships, gain school and community recognition, and challenge yourself mentally and physically, you also gain leadership skills that you can carry with you for the rest of your life. As a team leader, the skills you utilize on your team can help you become a successful leader in the “real world.”
You don’t have to be the captain of your team to be a team leader. Anyone can be a team leader as long as they embody the characteristics of a leader. Following are leadership attributes that are not only important in athletics, but in the workplace as well.
Competitive. You wouldn’t be a student athlete if you weren’t competitive on some level. One of the most sought after attributes for business leaders is competitive drive. Being competitive signifies that you are a hard worker and you are constantly trying to better yourself. Just as your competitive drive motivates you and your teammates, your competitive drive can motivate you and your colleagues to be better in the workplace.
Strong Communication. As a team leader, communication is integral whether you’re communicating with your coach or your teammates. Communication skills are an important focus when businesses are hiring employees. The communication skills you gain as a team leader will put you a step ahead when it comes to communicating with your boss and colleagues on day-to-day issues, and complicated projects.
Team Player. Having success in sports requires being a team player, and this is the same in the workplace. Managers want employees who work well with others, can motivate a team, and can work as part of a team to move the business forward.
Time Management. Being a high school or college athlete is one of the best ways to gain time management skills. Not only is this skill necessary to manage your time between school and sports, time management in the workplace is just as important. Having time management skills signifies to an employer that you are efficient, driven and can manage a tight schedule.
Self-Motivated. Student athletes often have a drive that comes from within. They may require little motivation from their coach or peers to push themselves and perform at their best. This attribute is very attractive to employers who are looking for an employee who will be a self-starter and require little supervision.
Detail-Oriented. Attention to detail is a desirable attribute to employers and a skill that most student athletes possess. As an athlete, you have to pay attention to what you eat, your workout regimen, and the technical skills to perfect your game. Being detail-oriented translates to the workplace when you convey you are an employee who can keep track of all the moving elements of a project.
Goal-Oriented. Goals are an important component to being a successful team leader. Whether it’s improving your time, benching more weight, or having a winning season, goals are necessary to lead your team and yourself in the right direction. Goals are also important in the workplace. Managers want employees who are able to set goals to improve themselves and the business, and who work hard to meet those goals and motivate others to do the same.
Able to Take Criticism. There are going to be setbacks in the business world, just as there are in sports. Having the ability to listen to criticism with an open mind and learn from mistakes is not only appreciated by coaches, but by employers as well. As a team leader, showing your teammates how to handle and respond to criticism is a great way to lead by example. The same can be done for your colleagues in the workplace.
Disciplined. Discipline is one of the more important skills a student athlete can carry with them into the workplace. As a leader on your team, it means showing up to practice everyday on time, working your hardest, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle when you’re not on the court. To an employer, it shows that you are a hard worker, you take yourself and your work seriously, and you can be trusted to complete your work to the best of your ability. Maintaining your discipline now will benefit you when you enter the workplace.
In an upcoming post, we will address key points for student athletes to remember to be successful leaders on their team.
Share your thoughts. What leadership skills have you gained as a team leader that will transition into the workplace?