In July’s blog post, we took a look at the sporting origins of some of the world’s business leaders. You can read about them here. These people all display certain characteristics and traits that have allowed them to reach the top.

What’s interesting is that they all suggested sport helped them hone those skills early on.

There are multiple attributes that enable successful athletes to reach the top of their game, which also transfer into the workplace. Here, we take a look at what those are and how use them.

Time Management

Young athletes who also attend school or university are aware of the demands that come with playing sport alongside studying. Juggling academic work with rigorous training and understanding competition comes at a cost.

However, successful young athletes who get this balance right are honing valuable time management skills which will prove useful in the workplace. If business leaders want results, they must manage their calendar impeccably.


The will to succeed and come out on top is an attribute found amongst business leaders and athletes alike, and is highly sought-after by employers. CEOs strive to fill their businesses with people who are aligned with their mission and are willing to work for it.


Similar to the above, a sense of purpose is one of the most powerful assets when it comes to succeeding in sport and business.

“Great teams have sense of purpose,” say

“They know who they are of service to and they know why what they do matters. Focus on the people for whom your product makes a difference.”

Both on the field and in the boardroom, those that are driven by a sense of not just what they do but why they do it often go far.

Coping Under Pressure

High-level athletes have been put in positions where composure under pressure is important. This experience creates a capable mind which is of real use in pressurised workplace situations. When deadlines are looming and steady decision-making is paramount, business leaders who stay calm and lead their teams effectively get the job done.

Team Work

Although “there’s no ‘I’ in ‘Team’” might be one of the most over-used cliches in both sport and business, the sentiment rings true. We’ve spoken previously about teamwork in our blog post on what ‘The Last Dance’ tells us about success in sport and business.

Not only do great business leaders know how to work effectively alongside others, but they recognise the talents of their colleagues and put them in positions where they’ll succeed and grow.

Athletes recognise that without a solid, positive working dynamic amongst a team, success is hard to come by.

Learning from Mistakes

The ability to learn from mistakes and use the experience to become better is perhaps the most important attribute on our list. In both business and sport, mistakes are just part of the game. It’s how we bounce back that matters. have it right: “In business, you can look at Richard Branson who has started many companies and has had plenty of them fail. The point, everyone makes mistakes, the greats have figured out to learn the most from them.”

At The Transition Phase, we believe Athletes are extremely valuable to organisations.

We’re an early careers programme that supports talent from a high-level sporting background. We utilise our own experience of having successfully transitioned careers to provide athletes with career guidance and support, making them aware of their transferrable skills and how they can be utilised in a professional environment, whilst providing organisations with access to high potential talent.

Click here to find out more.