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5 Lessons every Business Leader can learn from Football

We would take a look at 5 lessons that every Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders could incorporate into their action plan learning from Football.

Last updated: 04.11.2020
Lessons every Business Leader can learn from Football | Sports Social Blog

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It’s the season of football again, and the sports channels are full of footballers giving their best on the pitch to prove their as well as their team’s merit. It’s a hopeful time for both fans and players alike, but many fans will ultimately be disappointed. The same thing is true in business. Every year, some companies’ great expectations fall apart under pressure thus causing huge losses, and a few underdogs go all the way to taste glory.

The crucial difference between the winners and the losers is how the business is run and where the mentality lies. We would take a look at 5 lessons that every Entrepreneur/Business Leader could incorporate into their action plan.

Attention to detail:


Every serious, well-trained professional footballer has one thing in common — an obsession with details. Often, they can tell exactly how many minutes they have worked out, or how many calories they have consumed that day or how much they have trained that day in which area. They wake up early and go to their training sessions and faithfully do their routine, even when it rains. That’s because they know details matter when it comes to fitness results, and fitness is essential to performance. Drills are repeated and skills are refined throughout. These are the little details that can make or break their performance.

This is important for business owners too, but just like footballers, the fitness of the company must be evaluated frequently. For example, is the company capitalized well enough to endure a long term of economic turmoil? Are key roles filled by employees who are best suited for the job? Does the company offer opportunities for advancement and other perks to retain as well as acquire talent? Entrepreneurs have to be just as detail-oriented as professional coaches if they are to be successful.


As the leader of the business, the CEO is no different than the top players or managers in European Football, which undoubtedly provides us with the best players on our TV screen. The company relies on him for direction and the ability to lead and execute. Let’s look at the former Manchester United manager, a legend of the game Sir Alex Ferguson. During his 26 years with Manchester United, he won 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, and two UEFA Champions League titles. Ferguson is the longest-serving manager of Manchester United. Even under pressure, Ferguson demonstrated the traits of a strong leader: consistency, patience, adaptability, communication, decisiveness, honesty, integrity and confidence. It is these traits that allowed him to connect with his team so he could lead them to a win.

A leader must also lead and execute like a true manager. A team which can be relied on to spearhead projects and manage processes with or without your direct instruction and ultimately which brings out the best in them. Maintaining the patience, adaptability and confidence of a dedicated manager, and also to be organized, well informed and being able to take initiative. When the work is delegated and lead by example, like Sir Alex, confidence is ensured in the team.


From weather conditions to injuries, football always demands flexibility. Various football teams often have their star players sidelined for months due to career threatening injuries that take a long time to heal. Recently Liverpool FC has been on the receiving side of it after Virgil Van Dijk got sidelined for the entirety of the season. As a result, the team has to adapt and adopt a new game plan if they want to be a contender this season.

Being the leader of the company means undoubtedly facing many changing circumstances. The person will need to be able to assess and adapt to these situations for the business to survive. Clients may be late on payments; a vendor may miss a shipment or the top sales associate may submit his or her resignation. Since a potential setback can’t be foreseen, it would be bad to not have a few backup plans in the playbook so that any obstacles can be tackled that come on the way.

The practise isn’t optional:

In sports, it’s rare to come across a play in a game that has never been practised beforehand. In football, most teams spend five days a week rigorously preparing for just one game. The goal is to fail in practice and iron out mistakes before the match day.

In business, practice is often not given much importance. It’s pretty unusual for a team to run through a presentation three or more times before pitching a new client, which should be done to better the chances of success. People should also take time for a debriefing after important meetings. Spending some time training for the encounter is guaranteed to pay off on stage.

Prioritize consistency:

Consistency carries over into several aspects of the business world. You want your product, results and work ethic to all be consistent. However, it begins with your work ethic.

Cristiano Ronaldo, famed Footballer, has played for multiple clubs and continuing to do so. He has also scored 30+ goals every season starting from 2008/09 up till 2017/18. He has always maintained a strong work ethic which enabled performance at this level.

That doesn’t mean that a person can’t take time off for sickness. But when at work, remember that what is put into each business today has the potential to yield incredible results down the road.

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