It’s rugby season! If you’re currently in the Paris campus, you can definitely feel the vibe in the Parisian streets and on social media since the Rugby matches are being held all around France. The first match started over a month ago and the final is scheduled for the 28th of October at the Stade de France, just outside of Paris.
In case you’re not familiar with the sport, here is a prompt Rugby ID Card:
- Origin: England
- Year of Birth: 1823
- Field length: 100 meters
- Players: 15 core players and a substitute set of 8 players
- Scoring system: the ball has to be touched down past the goal line that is marked on the ground of the opposite team’s side.
What is it special about Rugby and what can it teach us, future international managers entering the corporate world?
Keeping Rugby’s obvious health benefits aside, here are some of the numerous social and mental benefits that rugby players surely develop.
It’s hard to represent your country in a World Cup, or your school in an inter-university challenge. In fact, Rugby’s extreme physicality builds resilience and toughness that are intense enough to handle pressure and challenging game situations. I take the example of The Fijian team is a great example: although they come from a small country, they beat several nations in the World Cup.
Resilience is a soft skill that managers need to have as well. It allows them to adapt to the change of situations, to the position hierarchy within a team or division, and to tolerate the effort that comes with managerial challenges.
A sense of camaraderie and teamwork comes along playing rugby, and can help players stay positive, even outside the field. Rugby players engage in team-building activities or side events post-training which enables them to develop tight-knit bonds and trust each other more in and outside the field. For instance, real Rugby fans know that the New Zealand players, known for their impressive haka, have a solid team harmony. Since teamwork is at the essence of every win, team bonding is a factor for New Zealand being the Rugby Championship record holder with sixteen titles.
In the corporate world, it is also great to share the success that is achieved via the hard work of every team member.
Rugby requires effective communication on and off the field. Players and coaches must constantly communicate strategies, adapt to different playing styles, and synchronize movements and tactics smoothly and on the spot. Similarly, colleagues at work coordinate with each other to deliver the best possible outcome. They also at times have to change tactics to meet deadlines or threats from the competition. Thus, the soft skills learned in Rugby can help you communicate adequately in work to adapt to changes.
Discipline and self-control
Due to the harsh physical nature of rugby, players must adhere to game rules and guidelines consistently, which develops a specific sense of discipline that you won’t find in other sports. In addition, they learn to manage emotions such as anger to stay focused in the game and avoid unnecessary aggression.
Indeed, Rugby is known as the “Gentleman’s game”. The referee has a microphone that is switched on during the match and people watching on television as well as in the stadium can hear everything being said between the players and the officials.
The players always remain respectful towards the referee and are often heard referring to him as ‘sir’. Whatever decision the referee comes to, the players accept it and may ask why the decision was made, but will never intimidate or insult him.
Following the final whistle, the players form a tunnel to applaud the opposing team, regardless of the final score. Respect is the key word in rugby: there is no cheating and the players try their best to stay on their feet and keep going whenever possible. Pretending to be injured is a weakness and frowned upon.
We’d like to include this last soft skill found in rugby in the list of attributes found in all working professionals, but that unfortunately is not true. At the same time, the most successful business people are indeed respectful of their colleagues and competitors alike. If more business people played rugby, perhaps more would be gentlemen and gentlewomen off the field as well as on.