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Learning from our sporting heroes


Updated: 01 Sep 2015

The world of work and the world of sport are not that far apart. Although we often watch sport to be entertained, you can also take away many leadership lessons from watching your sporting heroes, says Alistair Cox, CEO of recruiting experts Hays.

In his latest LinkedIn Influencer blog, Alistair says there are five key lessons to learn from watching your favourite sportspeople in action. These are:

1. Winners are good delegators
“Winning teams and sports stars require excellent managers and coaches, and the best coaches and managers are brilliant delegators,” says Alistair. “As a leader you must give each of your team a clearly defined role and prepare them to perform to the best of their abilities.

“In business we can often find ourselves trying to micromanage everything, especially the more senior we get. But just like in sport, we need to empower teams by delegating roles and responsibilities to ensure tasks get the focus and expertise they deserve.”

2. Look after your talent, on and off the pitch

Creating a support network for your employees, such as helping recently relocated staff settle in to their new environment and beyond, can help to ensure your talent performs well and consistently. Alistair says: “It’s essential that any team, whether in sport or business, is not only hiring the best talent across all roles and disciplines, but also creating an environment in which they can thrive, focus and be successful.”

3. Know your competitors, but don’t get obsessed
In order to win against your competitors, you must first know how to do so. When you lose a business pitch you need to understand why, while not losing sight of your own strengths during the process. Alistair says: “In business, decide which members of your team need to focus their time and energy on what your competitors are doing, and the rest of you should concentrate on being the best in the business.”

4. Strength of character
To be a strong leader you must not only learn from your mistakes but bounce back from them too. Alistair says: “To be a good leader you need to be more than just the fastest runner or the best strategic thinker, you need to be mentally robust. This is vital to make the right decisions when the pressure is on, learn from failure and bounce back from criticism.”

5. It’s not only about the big wins

The big wins are often the ones that are talked about, but it is important to remember that success doesn’t just happen overnight and these big wins are a result of smaller wins along the way. Alistair says: “It’s just as important to celebrate and relish small victories. Setting and hitting plenty of small goals and targets can help to keep the team on track and motivated to work towards the next big one.”

Hays is located in Hong Kong at Unit 5803-7, The Centre, 99 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong. Phone +852 2521 8884 or email

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

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For further information please contact Kerryn Celine, Senior Marketing Executive - South East Asia at Hays, on +61 2 8226 9844 or


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