Relationship Building Activities: Sportsmanlike Behavior

Posted by Bridget Beirne
October 29, 2013

When unsportsmanlike behavior threatens to undermine your relationship building activities.

I'll be the first to admit, I'm not a huge football fan. Now, if you want to talk baseball, that's a different story... Although I have no stake in the current World Series, there are some Ovation Team Members who would never forgive me if I didn't say, *ahem*, "Go Sox". But I digress.

As I was saying, I'm not a big follower of the pigskin. However, I found myself enthralled by an article teaser that said, "'Volatile' Cowboys Star Melts Down on the Sidelines". THAT didn't sound good. Of course, I had to read it. (And I suggest you do, too! Find it here.)

Let me reiterate how little I know about the ballgame of foot. From what I could glean fromRelationship building activities 7 the article, the Cowboys have a bit of a wunderkind on their hands currently named Dez Bryant. Seemingly, he can pluck footballs from the air in impossible positions, run so fast that the wind seems late to the game, and generally do everything on an exceptional level.

He also happens to be, as we would say in the theatre, a bit of a diva.

He yells. He rants. He complains about not being on the field. He gets up in other team member's faces. He seems pretty unpleasant at times. Although he is young, he is already making a name for himself as a difficult person to work with.

What I found particularly interesting about the tone of this article was the implication that, regardless of his talent, his demeanor was out of hand. Instead of just finding ways to excuse it because of his ability, it seems people are starting to call him out on it. There is still a standard of "sportsmanlike behavior" out there, and the commentators and writers involved in this article come to the defense of this age-old idea in light of this poor behavior. 

There's a reason we use that phrase "sportsmanlike behavior" in all kinds of settings. The ideal of treating your fellow teammates and competitors with consideration and respect, playing an honest game, doing your work on an exceptional level while functioning as a part of a whole is applicable across the board. And, just as evidenced by Mr. Bryant here, it is still not always upheld.

Chances are there may be someone in your office or company who might "pull a Bryant". Perhaps they're really great at their job, or hold an important position, and treat others as, well, less-than. They think they are a One-Person All Star Team. The truly sad thing is, this type of an attitude can hold an office hostage- it keeps people from being comfortable and confident in their workspace, and in doing so keeps everyone from achieving their best work.

But forget the work- it's just MISERABLE to be around!

No one, regardless of talent, or ability, or number of zeros before the decimal point in their paycheck, has the right to create such a workplace hostage situation. It kills team morale. It is the definition of unsportsmanlike, and relationship building activities undoubtedly suffer as a result. And eventually, people will refrain from engaging with those difficult people, regardless of their ability- just as the good people of the NFL point out in that article.

One of the things that is often said about Derek Jeter is that he is a shining example of sportsmanlike conduct. Players from lots of different teams in the league agree. And that kind of etiquette based, ethical conduct just enhances his admirable abilities on the field. (See, I still managed to sneak a Yankees reference in there!) I can only hope, for Mr. Bryant's sake, that he learns to follow such a lead. That he cleans up his conduct in the office, before it undermines his exceptional work. I'm sure the rest of the Cowboys are looking forward to seeing that change in their workplace, as well.


Is someone sabotaging your team? How do you handle the situation with consideration, respect, and honesty? Sound off below!



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