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Learning from our sporting heroes

Updated: 14 Apr 2016


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.”

In China Hays operates from four local offices: Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou and Guangzhou.

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

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About Hays

Hays is the leading global specialist recruiting group. It is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide.

Hays Specialist Recruitment (Shanghai) Co., Limited ("Hays China") operates across the public and private sector, dealing in permanent positions. Hays China’s eighteen specialisms span Accountancy & Finance, Banking, Architecture, Construction, Education, Engineering, Executive, Finance Technology, Human Resources, Hays Resource Management, Information Technology, Insurance, Life Sciences, Manufacturing & Operations, Oil & Gas, Property and Sales & Marketing.

Hays China operates four local offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou and Guangzhou. It is the local representative office for Hays plc, which is a global company. As at 30 June 2015 Hays employed 9,023 staff operating from 240 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2015, Hays reported net fees of £764.2 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £164.1 million. Hays placed around 63,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 200,000 people into temporary assignments. 23% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific.

Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA.