What Bosses Can Learn From High School Wrestling

  • August 1st, 2011
  • Jeff Kortes

What Bosses Can Learn From High School Wrestling

Picture via pennlive.com

The behavior of people in an organization is a direct reflection of their leadership.

This was evident as I watched my son wrestling in the conference wrestling tournament earlier this year. After one particular match the guy threw his head gear as he was walking off the mat when he lost.

His coach immediately grabbed him and told him that was unacceptable!

This team — and this coach — are respected in the conference. They win consistently and, more importantly, they are viewed as a “class act.”

Then I noticed another team and how they behaved. They constantly complained to the refs about calls, threw headgear, and acted in unacceptable ways when they lost. These kids come from a school with an excellent academic and sports reputation.

Ironically, this wrestling team has undergone a transformation in the last year.

What changed?

They have a new coach! The old coach retired.

Very quickly the team took on the personality of the new coach. The old coach was passionate and THEY WON A LOT OF MATCHES. But he also expected his wrestlers to be class acts whether they won or lost.

Now, take a close look in the mirror, are you like the new coach or like the old coach?

If you yell, talk down to people, embarrass people, question the decisions of your boss behind her back, you will have people who act the same way! People respect a boss that leads by example.

They will follow a boss who leads by example. And most importantly, they will win for a boss that leads by example.

If you squirmed a bit when you read this, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It means that in your heart you know you should be doing some things differently. MAKE SOME CHANGES!

About the Author
What Bosses Can Learn From High School WrestlingJeff Kortes is known as the “No Nonsense Guy.” He is the President of Human Asset Management, and author of “No Nonsense Retention … Painless Strategies to Retain Your Best People. He has trained hundreds of first-line supervisors, managers, and executives during his career. His approach to training is no-nonsense, and practical. Jeff is also a member of the National Speakers Association and a regular speaker on the topics of retention, recruiting and leadership. For more information, visit

About the Author

  • Jeff Kortes

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