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How football made me a better team player at work

manuelobre profile image Manuel Obre Originally published at manuelobregozo.com on ・2 min read

I became a football player (non-professional, of course) before I became a software developer, which I think helped me a lot when it came to working in teams.

It could be related to the fact I had a good coach and team-mates as soon as I started playing this sport, who thought me that there were never individuals on a team, that we were all part of the same engine that was helping the wheel to keep spinning. And it is a team effort to change and improve these situations in which there are players who are not performing well, and to detect it as soon as possible.

We have never discussed errors or improvements directly on the field (unless it was something urgent), we have always addressed all situations at the end of the game or even a day later, in private in case it was necessary, to avoid public shaming while pointing fingers.

During difficult times, is was not possible to point any fingers or blame others, there was always room to share ideas with the coaches and the captains, concerns and encourage those who were having problems. In other words, we were there for each other.

Does the topic sound familiar to you? I think at some point they may also be applicable to the software world, and if we were to map the structure of teams, we could match captains and coaches with leaders and managers. But I don't see people looking for resources to make teams perform better as a team, although it is very common to have the space to discuss this in agile methodologies rituals such as retrospective meetings where, in my experience, it generally focused mainly on deliverables. But lately I've noticed that it's becoming a common topic in tech talks and meet-ups.

Moreover, It also helped me understand the importance of working hard but always with a purpose, because the lack of guidance or plan can make us to get exhausted in vain, meritocracy can be a delicate subject in here as well, and it does not always come with good results.

In general, I choose group recognition over individual ones, I really enjoy the success of my partners, which in football terms can be translated into that I prefer to give an assist to a teammate rather than scoring a screamer at the end of a game.

That is why I will always be self-critical of myself, but with the goal in mind of doing better for my team.

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