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by Vault Careers | January 13, 2016


Watching a great sports team play together is something amazing. The perfectly coordinated teamwork. The impressive displays of athleticism. The obvious joy of the game that radiates from their success. 

All of these qualities indicate a certain harmony that comes from time, experience, and hard work.  When players rocket to stardom or go undefeated for a season it can be easy to place all the focus on them and forget about coaches who are frequently the tactical brain behind the operations. 

Much like a coach supporting players and working to exemplify the best traits of each one, managers have the responsibility of working with their employees to bring out their potential.  Management is frequently seen as the ability to effectively direct people in a way that accomplishes important tasks on a day to day basis. But it is more than that; it is also the ability to effectively coach employees to develop new skills in a supportive fashion. 

Managers--and those hoping to become managers--can learn a lot from coaches. Below are three traits the best coaches have that managers should incorporate into their leadership strategies.

Open Communication 

One of the most difficult aspects of being either a coach or a manager is finding management strategies that motivate employees rather than dominating them. As the person in the power position, it can be incredibly difficult not to tout authority as a means of getting things done. However, this type of behavior often alienates employees, damages morale, and harms the productivity of the entire team.   

Frequently, the best coaches are those that are able to facilitate open, respectful communication throughout the team. Development of a safe space where team members can express themselves and their concerns or confusions makes for a more positive and cohesive environment. Furthermore, it discourages catty behaviors such as gossip and promotes a culture of honesty where issues are dealt with immediately.  

Positive Attitude 

In addition to open communication between team members, the best coaches always bring a positive attitude to the floor. Rather than focusing on what players are doing wrong, they encourage the behaviors that are correct and work to move forward with those. Positive reinforcement such as this encourages team members to work towards excelling and helps to build a strong relationship of trust with coaches.

Likewise, in an office setting, managers should do their best to focus on the positive traits of all of their employees rather than only addressing the negative ones. In fact, a number of studies have suggested that positive feedback from managers is actually one of the biggest factors in the development of high performance employees. A well-timed compliment from management can boost self-confidence as well as work performance and productivity.  


Some of the most successful coaches are also fantastic at placing players where they will have the greatest ability to shine. They make sure that every player has a role and knows their purpose, which helps them to function at a higher level. In other words, great coaches have strong organizational skills. 

Organization in the office setting doesn’t always mean organizing emails and files of data (although that is essential to success). In addition to that, it also means being able to organize the team in a way that brings the best out of each employee through office layouts or even seating arrangements. For instance, placing hard-working veterans next to new employees can facilitate a mentorship that will help develop new skills more quickly. 


Many of the techniques that are the most essential to successful management are the same that are highly valued in coaching. Taking the time to develop open communication and offering positive feedback and organization can play a significant role in helping your team excel towards superstardom.  

About the author

Brittni Brown is a recent graduate of The College of Idaho; she currently works for a local marketing company. In her free time she enjoys a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, and camping.