What tennis can teach employers

For employers, inspiration and learnings can come from anywhere. A chance meeting, a good book, customer feedback… the list is endless.

And that list includes sport.

The Australian Open captivated the nation for the past fortnight, and while the vast majority were watching some of the world’s best athletes hit a rubber and felt ball back and forth over a net, there were some important lessons that can be learned from the sport. Here’s how tennis might be able help you to manage your business or workforce more effectively.


1. Remember that you are responsible for the outcome

While millions of people around the planet play tennis, it is usually an individual sport, or at best played as a team of two (doubles). This means it’s you against the world (and the player blasting serves at you from the other end of the court). The match is won or lost on your racquet. As an employer, it’s not necessarily entirely up to you, but you are always responsible for decisions that affect your results, customers, and staff.

How you respond to obstacles in the workplace can have drastic effects on your business. In high-pressure situations, a mental meltdown (see: John McEnroe, Nick Kyrgios) isn’t the best strategy. If you can take a step back, assess the problem and work to remedy it, you’ll be in a better position. You may not always get it right, but if you can determine a course of action that you are confident in, then no matter the result, you will be better placed to deal with similar scenarios in the future.


2. You might fail, but another opportunity will always present itself

Novak Djokovic claimed his 10th Australian Open title in a straightforward, straight-sets final. Despite the seemingly comfortable win, Djokovic lost nearly half the total points he played. Tennis players fail often, on a micro-scale, but the best never let it get to them. They accept that no-one can win every point, and a new opportunity is just around the corner. After all, you don’t have to win every rally… just the big ones.

Similarly, no business is completely immune from setbacks, challenges, and failures. Mega-corporations like Apple, Marvel Entertainment and General Motors are industry leaders worth billions today (or in Apple’s case, trillions), but also all flirted with bankruptcy at times in their history.

Come to terms with the fact that some failures are inevitable, and that each obstacle represents a chance to grow and learn. If you can effectively shift your mindset, the tough times won’t last as long, or feel so impactful. Remember, you can lose a game, or a set, and still win a match convincingly.


3. Choose the right team

One of the feel-good local stories from this year’s Open was 23-year-old Alexei Popyrin knocked out World #8 Taylor Fritz in the second round. Throughout the marathon four-hour match, Popyrin constantly looked to the team that got him there for reassurance and support. After finally securing victory, Popyrin claimed “With me and my coach, it was two against one. We had the same thoughts.”

Surrounding yourself with a supportive, collaborative team can send your business to new heights, and achieve more of your goals. No great business is the product of one person, but with a talented team, you can achieve great results.

Choosing the right team members can be a… process, but it doesn’t have to be a hard one. My Pathway helps employers around the country diversify, build, and strengthen their workforce every day. Our free recruitment services can help support you, to find your best support team.


If you would like more information on anything we’ve covered above, contact us to find out more!

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