There are powerful characteristics that are common amongst great athletes and business leaders. These aren’t circled around specific skills like throwing a 60-yard pass or developing a new sales engine for a company, but rather around character traits which will help almost any work environment.
1. They accept that mistakes are part of the game
Worrying about being perfect can be paralyzing in sport and in business. Great business leaders and athletes alike know you have to be willing to make mistakes in order to grow and ultimately succeed. Steph Curry, who is arguably the best three-point shooter to ever live, scores 43.6% of the shots he takes from behind the arc. This means he misses more than half of the time. In business, you can look at Richard Branson who has started many companies and has had plenty of them fail. The point, everyone makes mistakes, the greats have figured out to learn the most from them.
2. They put team members in positions to succeed
Have you ever turned on a football game and seen Tom Brady frantically yelling and pointing, trying to get his players in the proper formation? He’s doing this because if one player is in the wrong position, it can mess up the entire play. The same goes in business, good leaders will recognize the talents of their team members and put them in the right places to succeed and grow.
3. They are humble and accountable
Great executives have to be willing to be accountable for company mishaps. Passing the buck is a sign of weak leadership. Instead, executives need to burden the blame when a company experiences an issue. Athletes are no different, after losing a heart-wrenching game, the great athletes will take the blame for a loss, doing so with 20 microphones in their face.
On the flipside, when things are going well, executives and athletes don’t take the credit. They credit their teams for success.
4. They stay calm under pressure
Composure is highly underrated. The clock is ticking down and the ball is in a great athlete’s hands, they don’t let the pressure bring them down – they use it as fuel. Successful executives are no different. When it’s time to perform, they buckle down and focus, knowing the pressure they face is only going to make their work better.
This mindset elevates the people around athletes and executives. If the stress of a project isn’t visibly affecting the mindset of a project manager, their staff is more likely to not let the pressure get to them.
5. They don’t dwell on the past
In football, when a Quarterback throws an interception, you’ll often hear the coach say, “don’t worry, next play.” This is said to reinforce the fact you can’t change the past, so let it go and improve on the next play. Great executives know this as well. Two years ago, Mark Zuckerberg and team released their Snapchat competitor, “Slingshot,” – it was a failure. However, the team at Facebook moved on to the next play, and today they have Instagram, which has proven to be worthy competition to Snapchat.
Athletes and executives who excel, don’t dwell on the past whether it’s negative or positive. They worry about how they can execute in the present, and future.