super bowl and corporate teamsI think most would agree that Super Bowl 50 was pretty epic. Even if you’re not really a football fan, it’s hard not to get caught up in the buzz. (After all, you don’t have to be a football fan to attend a super bowl party and consume massive amounts of beer and cheese dip.)

As much fun as it is, there are many valuable leadership lessons to be learned from Super Bowl teams and coaches. Whether it’s about your business or personal life, or if you’re an athlete or entrepreneur, the same qualities that make up winning sports teams can also make for a successful life. Take a look.

Leadership matters.

Sure, quarterbacks get lots of press, but any successful player at the helm knows they don’t win without help. A great quarterback knows how to inspire and lead, but also how to rely on others for help, and encourage teammates to be their best, no matter the score. If you’re not respected, and if you don’t clearly communicate to others, then you will not be supported. And you will not win.

Good coaches are flexible.

No two players are alike, and it’s just the same with corporate team members. Good coaches know how to support all types of personalities, and encourage and nurture talent in ways that are motivating and inspirational. For example, your coaching style might be abrupt and to-the-point – which will work for certain individuals – but that same style might only serve to thwart creativity and production in others. Knowing how to read and understand those around you while fostering a culture of positivity and growth will help all work styles flourish.

Hype is just noise.

There is nothing quite like the Super Bowl when it comes to media attention, glitz, glamour and high expectations from viewers. Fans expect powerful advertisements, dazzling half-time shows, charismatic announcers and a close score at the end of the game. But strip away the hype, and you still have two teams on one field, relying on their own preparation, skills and mind set. Your company or organization can have all the bells and whistles that attract new talent and more customers, but if your team isn’t able to perform and function at a high level when it counts, something needs to change.

Collaboration is key.

By the time any team gets to the Super Bowl, there are hundreds of other people that share some of the glory. This includes an extensive coaching and administrative team, a loyal fan base, supportive family members and friends, stadium personnel and local media … the list goes on and on. No one achieves success alone. Successful people know that collaboration and cooperation from others at all levels and in every area of business are important.  There is always something new to be learned, and there are always people who can help and support you. And you will have ample opportunities to return the favor.

Goals should be understood.

There isn’t one person in an athletic locker room that doesn’t know what the goal is: to win. But there are different levels of winning. During practice, it’s to take each session and walk away knowing that players did everything possible to learn, grow and improve. Every play during a game needs to be executed with intention, knowing that unexpected things will happen and mistakes will be made, but another chance is just seconds away. Every game is approached with a winning score in mind, and every winning score is followed by celebration, and then getting back down to practice and starting all over again. Corporate teams must always have short- and long-term goals in mind, and every individual must know what those goals are, and what they need to do to reach them.

Celebrations are a must.

The Super Bowl is a national event, no matter the teams on the field. Entire neighborhoods gather together for tables full of food and drinks, ready for good conversation and cheers.  It’s an opportunity to have fun, let loose and get excited about something, even if your favorite team isn’t in the running for the title. Companies benefit when workers are excited, happy and feel appreciated. Celebrating milestones and holidays are terrific, but creating your own events and having fun for unexpected reasons is important too – it gives colleagues something to rally behind and enjoy.

What are other lessons?

I’ve shared with you some of my favorite lessons that can translate from the playing field to the work space, but there are plenty more! I’d love to hear from you – what can we learn from the Super Bowl (or any other team-required sport) that makes sense in a corporate culture?

Please leave your comments below.

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