Culture & Community | By Scott Schulte,

Want to Win at Business? Bring Out the Best in Your Team.

There’s a reason there are so many sports analogies in business. It’s all about competition. You’re competing for market share, you’re competing for attention, and you’re competing for the best and brightest talent.

Many of your most innovative and hard-working employees also thrive on competition. They don’t just want to do a good job. They want to be the best they can possibly be. And they want to help your company win.

It’s no secret that many businesses head straight for the athletic department when recruiting on college campuses. Why? Because they’re looking for people with that competitive spirit. But you don’t necessarily have to hire a natural athlete to get top rated talent.

Sometimes, it’s about knowing how to bring out the best in everyone on your team.

Be the Coach

Many of us have had coaches that changed our lives for the better. They taught us to love the game, the challenges, and the team. They nurtured our talents and made us feel successful. They fostered loyalty, camaraderie, and respect. They treated tough losses as opportunities to learn, grow, and improve. Yes, they celebrated winning, but also rewarded fair play, determination, and effort.

Some of us have also had coaches who made us wish we had never tried out for the team. No play was ever big enough. No effort was ever good enough. Teammates were pitted against each other, and the only thing that mattered was winning— at all costs. Even when you did win, there was no celebrating. It was all about focusing on the things that went wrong and preparing for the next battle.

If you want to cultivate hard-working, loyal employees, you can’t leave them feeling constantly defeated. You’ve got to nurture your talent in ways that make them want to keep playing, keep improving, and keep being part of the team.  

Playing the long game

Successful coaches know that raw talent alone doesn’t make a great player. Neither does sheer effort. The best players are the ones who know the game inside and out. Not only do they have skills and determination, they also understand the strategy behind what moves will work and why.

If you’re not sharing your organizational vision with your team, you’re missing out on an opportunity to give your team that critical behind-the-scenes knowledge. You’re also setting yourself up for a steady stream of confusion and lackluster results. Everyone will be running in different directions. Or worse yet, stuck at the starting line.

Want to keep your team motivated and on track?

Give them the why behind what they’re doing. Share your company mission, goals, and strategy, and let them know where and how they fit in.

Recognize individual strengths and who fits best in each position. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking everyone needs to be good at everything. Your catcher is not also going to be a great pitcher. Let him do what he does best. Then groom a pitcher to compliment his talents.

Keep in mind that every team has a different dynamic, with different strengths and weaknesses. As much natural talent as your new hires have, they won’t know any of those nuances when they first join the team. Take the time to teach and mentor each new employee until they feel confident in their role.

At the end of the day, your organization’s success lies in the hands of its leaders.

If you want to build a fantastic company culture and an even better team, be that inspirational coach that made you want to be a better player. And a better person.


Running into challenges with employee performance, turnover, and retention? At Sonus Benefits, we’ve got ideas to help you address these issues and more. Get in touch with Sonus to see how we can help your organization become a local employer of choice.

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