Playing Injured In The Workplace

Leadership Lessons from the Flag Football Field:

Sometimes, the most profound lessons in leadership come from unexpected places. For me, it was the grassy expanse of a flag football field.

As a CEO and an avid participant in recreational flag football, I’ve found that the transparency in professional sports – from injury reports to COVID-19 vaccination statuses – provides a striking contrast to the typical workplace, where privacy laws and ethical considerations keep such information private. My dual roles have allowed me to observe and learn from these differences, gaining valuable insights into leadership and communication.

A Test of Composure and Responsibility:
During a recent game, I experienced a dislocated finger. Despite the throbbing pain, I maintained my composure, acutely aware of my responsibility to my team. Interestingly, this injury coincided with our starting quarterback being unexpectedly late, catapulting our backup quarterback into a spotlight he hadn’t anticipated.

The Misunderstanding: A Leadership Challenge:
The backup quarterback’s performance was nothing short of commendable. However, a misunderstanding arose – he assumed he’d be benched as soon as our regular quarterback showed up. When this moment of tension arose, it mirrored the challenges often encountered in the workplace. Feeling overlooked, he expressed his frustration and began to walk away. It was a pivotal moment for leadership.

Communication: The Heartbeat of Team Dynamics:
I quickly intervened, explaining the situation and affirming my decision to keep him in the game. This incident underscored the importance of clear communication and striving to understand each other’s perspectives in team dynamics. Like my concealed injury, team members might hide their challenges, which can impact their performance and well-being.

Inquiry Over Assumption:
One crucial takeaway is the significance of inquiry over assumption. By asking questions, we create a space for understanding and empathy rather than jumping to conclusions. This approach cultivates a more inclusive and supportive environment, essential both on the field and in the boardroom.

The Power of Vulnerability in Leadership:
Moreover, leaders acknowledging their vulnerabilities can have a profound impact. When I shared my injury with the team after the game, it fostered a deeper sense of trust and camaraderie. It showed that we are all human, each fighting our battles, and it’s this shared humanity that strengthens our bonds.

Conclusion: Universally Applicable Lessons:
In summary, leading a sports team and managing a business require a delicate balance of strength and sensitivity. The flag football field has been an unlikely classroom for me, teaching me the importance of open communication, mutual respect, and understanding. These lessons are universally applicable, guiding us toward more effective, empathetic leadership.

I encourage you to reflect on your own experiences. How has a hobby or an unexpected event taught you about leadership? Share your stories in the comments below; let’s learn from each other.