A Football Coach’s Guide To What Makes a Great Team In Your Company

November 9, 2017

There are lots of reasons why football is so compelling to watch, but one big reason is because every person on the field is important – every person has a specialized role to play that relates to everyone else on the team.

That means that when a team is playing well, every player comes together to produce something greater than the sum of its parts. It’s an awesome thing to see when it happens (especially when it’s your team and not your rival’s)!

Use this football coach’s guide to team building to create a more positive team structure in your company.

The Quarterback

A team is only as good as its leader, and the quarterback is the de facto head of the team. If a quarterback is making sloppy passes or bad decisions, the whole team’s performance will suffer. So too in your corporation. The “quarterback” in your company needs to be a person who thinks quickly on his or her feet, can develop strategic goals, and is capable of boosting morale when the going gets tough. The CEO often plays this role for the entire company, but individual departments or teams also need leaders with these valuable qualities.

Keep a close eye on the quarterback for signs of overwork, though. Just like a small injury can escalate to a lot of time away in football, failure to manage stress or nip problems in the bud can cause your team leaders to become ineffective.

Wide Receiver

Wide receivers are fascinating to watch. Their job is to run routes that allow them to open up for a pass, whether that’s picking up a few yards or running downfield for a deep pass. In your company, the wide receivers are the people making big strides forward. They might not generate movement with every idea they try, but when they do, things leap forward at a rapid pace. These are your innovators who can be trusted to make savvy decisions and hit ambitious targets for key performance indicators. However, the success of your wide receivers depends on the level of communication they have with other team members. Facilitating open, clear communication patterns — particularly with your company’s quarterback — will improve your receivers’ success.

The Offensive Line

The offensive line are critical blockers, keeping the other team at bay so that the quarterback, receivers, and running backs can work their magic. In your company, your offensive line are the people who can be counted on to defend your mission. They are always aware of what competitors are doing, but they use this knowledge to keep your company moving forward. These people do a great job in public relations or other capacities where they can focus on generating momentum for your company.

Running Back

Running backs are the workhorses of a football team. Even if their rushing plays pick up only a few yards, they are critical to the success of the team. Your running backs are the go-to people who are making everything run smoothly on a daily basis. It’s not always glamorous (though when given free rein these people can execute an amazing play), but they get the work done. A good running back is tough to replace, so make sure you treat yours well.

Tight End

Tight ends are hybrid players who are called on to catch passes as well as block. In your company, these folks are the ones who can seemingly do it all. Their breadth of knowledge means that they are critical to include in planning meetings, because they can look at a situation from all angles. However, knowing a little about everything means that there may be gaps in their depth of knowledge. That’s why you need the backup support of special teams.

Special Teams

Kickers, holders, and long snappers spend hours perfecting subtle movements to ensure the best possible performance in their area. These players are also spectacular at performing under pressure. The “special teams” players at your company have a deep wealth of knowledge in a particular area. They are also extraordinarily dependable, doing the same thing over and over without error. Although special teams players might not be the most versatile employees, they become critical to your team once you know their strengths. A good way to find out is to have your team conduct self assessments. Learn each person’s self-perceived strengths to know who to come to when you have a specific problem that needs fixing.


Can you think of who plays what role in your current team? Are you missing some key players in your lineup? We have some free resources for growing teams and HR professionals that can help you recruit some great “players” [here].

Linda Le Phan
Senior Content Marketing Manager at kununu.

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