While pondering the ideas of work and performance one day, an interesting thought hit me.
A lot of the qualities that are most attractive for an employee are things that an athlete would have.
Now, allow me to give a quick disclaimer here. When I say “athlete” I’m not necessarily meaning an NFL wide receiver. In this case, I’m referring to a person who seeks out athletic opportunities, like joining a sports team, training at the gym, or pursuing hobbies like surfing or bicycling. These are the types of people that I consider an athlete. If you can find that person who challenges themselves physically, here are 10 reasons why they might make a great employee for you:
- They understand actual teamwork. Real teamwork comes when you put the team’s end goal above your own pride or selfishness. Being a part of a team for some kind of physical effort forces you to strengthen the weakest link and encourage the strongest, even if you’re the one in the middle. Businesses need this kind of “we before me” attitude in order to reach their full potential.
- Perseverance is a part of who they are. Training isn’t always glamorous. Athletes understand that putting in the effort over and over will lead to the results that you want. If you persevere, you may win. If you quit, you’re guaranteed to lose.
- They had to learn responsibility. If they’re on a team, they have had to be responsible to show up. If their sport isn’t a team sport, they had to exercise personal responsibility in order to improve at all. Who doesn’t want a responsible worker?
- They’ve dealt with failure. Introduce me to one person who’s won every game, every race, every match or every competition they’ve ever been in and I’ll introduce you to a liar (or someone who hasn’t competed much!). Loss and failure is part of the deal. It’s painful, but athletes and good employees understand that their performance can’t realistically be perfect all the time.
- Positive thinking and confidence are things that they value. If you’ve ever had a good coach (I have) then you know that they did a lot more than teach you how to swing a bat, skate with good form, or speed up your sprint time. They taught you that thinking positively and having the confidence that you can succeed are just as important. Employers want people with confidence and positive thinking.
- They have goals. Every athlete has a goal. Whether it’s to double their bench press max, cut down their run time, or master that back handspring, athletes have goals. Employees with goals, motivation, and drive are employees that get things done.
- They’re masters of time-management. Unless they’re a professional athlete, there’s a solid chance that this person does not spend their entire day at the gym, on the trails, or on the golf course. They have other obligations, whether that’s college, work, or family obligations; this means they have to find balance. If they can carve out time to work on their backstroke while still getting their other responsibilities taken care of, they clearly have a good handle on time-management. I can’t think of a job where that isn’t a good skill to have!
- They’re less stressed out. Exercise is good for the body and the mind. Athletes use one of the best stress relievers- physical activity- on a regular basis, so they can be more refreshed and calm when dealing with stressful situations at work.
- Taking too many sick days won’t be a problem. Athletes are healthier because of the regular physical activity they work into their days. This means they’ll be more productive when at work and will miss fewer days of work than their non-athlete counterpart.
- They know how to take criticism. Every person who participates in a physical sport has experienced some sort of criticism. If they’ve been on a team, their coach has likely made clear all their shortcomings. If in an individual sport, they’ve seen others whose skills are superior, and are able to sort out the emotions that come from feeling criticized. No work environment is void of criticism, because it makes us better (difficult as it may be). Athletes know how to take it.
Regardless of what company you’re hiring for, if you find an athlete, you may just find a star employee. If you’re the one on the job-seeking end of things, consider the positive impact that taking up a sport could have on your mind, body, and employ-ability. It might just be worth it to join that volleyball league after all.
Do you think athletes make good employees? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!