Countdown to the Real World: Blog Series by Breanna Wooster
As a first-year head volleyball coach, I often share lines learned from so many great coaches over the years. These coaching lessons continue to guide me through my college and career work ethic. My favorite lines also apply to the workplace.
Here are my favorites:
“15 minutes early is on time, on time is late.” Entering a room the second the clock hits 8 a.m. does not make you on time. Be early. The extra 15 minutes may help you in case traffic is unexpectedly slow or someone takes your go-to parking
“Trust your teammate.” I constantly remind my players not to reach back in front of another player or dive for a ball in front of their teammate. It usually makes for a chaotic play that could have been avoided. In business, the concept is the same. To succeed, we need to trust our colleagues and hold everyone accountable.
“Work hard when you don’t think I am watching, because guess what? I probably am.” As a coach, there are many practices where the players are running a drill and I am watching. At these times, I can always tell which players are working hard because they want to get better and who is working hard only when they know I am watching. Often, managers do this, too, even if they do not say anything. They notice who is there to give maximum effort to help the organization succeed.
“Communication is key.” A typical reaction in volleyball is to yell “talk” when two players run into each other when going after a ball. Talking is not the only problem. It’s also listening. It’s the entire process of communication. Like on the court, a good employee needs to know how to talk and listen equally well.
“Life happens, just be honest.” Not everything is perfect. Sometimes people are late, cars break down, people get sick — life happens. In these cases, it is appropriate to go to a coach or manager and explain the situation. Most often, the manager will understand and help you through the problem or give you time to take care of it. Typically, trying to patch up the problem or fixing it without the manager’s knowledge leads to a greater problem. Open communication usually leads to a better working relationship.
“Keep your emotions in check.” As an athlete, you shouldn’t bring your life emotions onto the court if you expect to perform at your best. The same applies to the workplace. Keeping your feelings about your bad morning or your tiresome evening out of the office is key to a productive work environment.
Coaching has taught me a lot about myself, my work ethic and the type of volleyball player I would have wanted to be. I may not be able to take my knowledge back as a player on the court, but I can apply the lessons I learned in the workplace. Just like I tell my team: “Work hard and results will follow.”
Breanna Wooster is a graduate assistant in the EMU Office of University Marketing and is pursuing a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications from Eastern Michigan University’s College of Business.