8 Ways Management is a Lot Like Soccer

Scene of two young adults playing soccer in a park. A man and a woman in casual sportswear are focused on a soccer ball between them, with minimalist soccer goals in the background and a serene sky above.

Management is not an easy skill nor a job to have. In order to be a great manager that people truly respect and look up too, it could take years of experience. However, we are here to give you seven simple tips that can start transforming you into a world-class manager.

Think ‘Team’

Before we begin our list, we think it is important for managers to think of their employees as their team. When you start to look at your employees as your team, you start to open the door for positive productive change. Like a soccer team captain, you as the manager will lead, push, and motivate your team to your ultimate goal.

1. Set Clear Objectives

In order for your team to reach your goal or goals, you need to set clear objectives for them. Just like a soccer team has a set of plays in order to win, you need to have concise objectives that direct every individual to your goal. Eliminating confusion by being concise, will allow your team to see a clear road to winning.

Setting objectives will also allow you and your team to have accountability. By setting a clear deadline with what exactly needs to be done, when, and by whom, you as a manager are not only setting the team up for accountability, but you are setting yourself up as well.  This will allow not only you but also your entire team to push each other to reach or surpass those goals.

Setting a clear objective also allows you as a manager, to see your teams

weak points. If you see a team member falling behind or struggling to meet an objective, this allows you the chance to problem-solve with your teammate to get the job done.

2. Time is Crucial

Time should never be wasted. As the manager of your team, it is important to make sure that you are allocating every precious minute to productivity that reaches your ultimate goal. Just like every soccer game has a set time of 90 minutes, your team has a set time to complete your projects.

In order to use your team’s time wisely, make sure you set reasonable deadlines on a calendar that everyone has access too. This not only will bring transparency to the project, but accountability to those involved. This will also ensure that together as a team, you are staying on task to meet your deadlines.

3. Communication is Key

Just like a soccer team needs to communicate with each other before, during, and after the play, you will need to communicate with your team as well. As a manager, you will have to pay close attention to what your team member’s communication styles are. Not every team member will respond to the same kind of stimulus, so as the team leader it is your job to determine what kind of communication stimuli is needed for each individual.

This will allow you to handle conflict on your team in an efficient and productive way. Being able to decode your team’s communication style, will also give you the right tools to handle conflict when it comes. Every team, including great soccer teams, will have conflict. It is your job as a manager to mediate between your team members, so you can turn a bad situation into a productive one.

4. Winning is The Only Option

Why do soccer teams come up with elaborate plays? Because for competitive soccer teams, winning is everything. Set the bar high for your team, and expect excellence. Positively push out the excellence in your team in order to drive results.

So do you need to set unrealistically high standards? No. But do set high, but attainable standards for them. This will also give your team the opportunity to shine, and let their natural talents and passion come out in order to meet the goal.

Every win feels amazing. So when your team does meet a goal, make sure to praise them. Give your team the credit they deserve. This positive reinforcement will give your team the motivation they need to succeed again on the next goal.

5. Understanding the Financial Angle

While it's true that management involves a broad spectrum of skills, one cannot undermine the importance of financial literacy in guiding a business towards success. Financial decisions play a pivotal role in every business strategy. If you're looking to strengthen this area of management, consider complementing your skills with an online management course focused on financial aspects. These courses will provide you with the financial acumen necessary to make informed decisions, budget efficiently, and drive profitability. By integrating financial knowledge with your managerial skills, you'll be better equipped to lead your team and business towards sustainable growth.

6. Breaks are Necessary

Although soccer games are ninety minutes long, they do have 15-minute breaks. During those breaks, players re-hydrate and refuel to play their very best for the next half. Although time is precious, it will not be utilised well if you have an overworked team. So make sure you give your team, and yourself much needed breaks.

You can take a break during the day, like lunch or even a short walk outside. Or as the manager, you can schedule fun team building activities outside of the office. Whatever you choose as your break, make sure you are away from your computer or workstation, in order to let your mind truly detox.

7. Be Flexible

Many of us know too well, that sometimes a play can turn out much differently than planned out. It is those cases that you have to roll with the punches and turn that play around. Many times there will be road bumps on the way to reaching your set goals. You will have to lead your team over, around, or through those bumps. So stay flexible, it will allow you to maneuver yourself and your team in a strategic way to still accomplish your goal, even with set obstacles.

8. Be the Change You Want to See in Others

Paying close attention to your team, and the changes needed for your team to succeed is important. However, in order for that change to truly inspire your team, it needs to come from their leader. Be the change you want to see in others. Innovate, improve, and constantly mold yourself to be your best version.

No one wants to work for a 'lazy boss.' If you want to see a change in your team, start by implementing that change in your own life. To further enhance your capability as a leader, consider enrolling in leadership courses. These courses refine your leadership style and improve your ability to motivate and inspire, much like a soccer coach uses tactics to bring out the best in their team.

Being a manager can be an overwhelming task. However, it can also be an incredibly rewarding one. New managers and experienced managers alike face the daily challenge of pushing their teams to their full potential. To learn more about how to become an inspiring manager, consider enrolling in management courses, including our specialized Practice Management Courses. These courses are designed to enhance your leadership skills and provide you with the tools needed to lead effectively.