Team Building in The Workplace
The recent media hype about Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg agreeing on a bout highlights a growing trend of business leaders studying martial arts.
The South African-born Musk reportedly practiced martial arts as a youth and Zuckerberg began training during the pandemic. This spring, the 38-year-old META CEO reportedly won a Ju-Jitsu tournament in Woodside, California. While the fan fascination of the household-name innovators captured the imagination of many, other high-profile corporate leaders have less publicly adorned the Gi. An increased number of CEOs and entrepreneurs are now bringing martial arts programs into the workplace to help develop talented employees. That’s because team-building programs incorporate disciplines such as Shaolin Kempo, Kung Fu, and Tai Chi that teach valuable business lessons.
1: Self Discipline in the Boardroom
Self-discipline is the art of controlling one’s feelings and emotions in a way that prevents them from becoming weaknesses. It’s important to understand that martial arts do not necessarily teach people to suppress their emotions. The goal is to learn how to avoid knee-jerk reactions when faced with an assailant, unexpected adversity, or a stressful business situation.
Team building and self-defense courses can be tailored for companies to emphasize how to cope with upheaval or setbacks. The in-class simulations and activities often focus on what to do when confronted by an attacker. While a rival organization may not use physical force, the mental process of a corporate takeover is similar. Practicing martial arts with your colleagues readies them to think calmly and strategically to deal with adversity.
2: Improvise, Adapt and Overcome
Members of the U.S. Marine Corps use the phrase “improvise, adapt, and overcome” to engrain the need to think on your feet and come up with solutions. This mindset is equally valuable in the business world and an essential part of martial arts training.
When companies onboard team-building martial arts programs, professionals discover there are always multiple ways to resolve confrontations. During the course, people learn a variety of physical and mental techniques. These verbal and psychological tools serve business leaders well when emotions run hot and problems seem dire.
Top CEOs typically possess the seemingly innate ability to find creative solutions under duress. Truth be told, that is usually a learned business skill that martial arts teach.
3: Conflict Resolution Business Skills
Being able to bring people together when they disagree proves an invaluable business skill. It’s not unusual for people to understand things like contractual obligations through a vastly different lens. When entities cannot find common ground, relationships fracture and otherwise good people engage in civil litigations.
A martial arts student is taught to listen and hear what the other person is saying. This practical life skill involves identifying word choices and reading body language. By better understanding what the other party is saying and how their body expresses their emotions, professionals can choose a path of peace and compromise. Why go to war when you can grow and prosper together?
4: Health and Wellness Benefits
The link between physical fitness has long been established. People who exercise regularly and follow a healthy diet are less likely to become ill and enjoy more energy. Practicing martial arts builds muscular strength, improves flexibility, and develops a more efficient cardiovascular system. These results may not seem applicable to business environments at first bluish. However, healthier individuals typically have better work attendance.
According to a Gallup poll, people who carry unhealthy body weights or are chronically ill miss approximately 3.5 days of work each month, or 42 days annually. By contrast, those who engage in physical fitness programs and manage their body weight call in sick about four days per year. Chronic conditions such as high blood pressure can be curbed by losing weight, eating right, and participating in custom-designed martial arts programs. Health and wellness are byproducts of training that help maximize your attendance.
5: Professional and Personal Integrity
The value of maintaining one’s integrity cannot be understated. In the corporate world, personal values are sometimes put to the test for what seems like corporate goal achievement. A workplace self-defense program carries the exact message you would experience in a formal Dojo. Concepts such as honesty, courtesy, and integrity are core values that are not worth compromising. When faced with unenviable choices, business professionals can lean on what they learn from the martial arts community and stay true to themselves.