Could the NCAA tournament help business at work

A study out of Purdue University shows that it may not be the worst thing in your business to participate in events such as the NCAA tournament.

Ellen Ernst Kossek, the Purdue University Basil S. Turner Professor of Management and research director of the Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence, says as an employer the decision on whether to encourage employees to participate in NCAA festivities should not be taken lightly.

She suggests five ways to make tournament watching good for business and not a distraction.

-Basketball is a great way to show employees teamwork in action. Sometimes a game hero isn't the top scorer but the one with the most assists or rebounds, as in business.

-Games also provide lessons in leadership, from those who inspire the team on a roll to those who help overcome a dry spell in scoring.

-Watching the shifts in tempos and leads can show how quickly fortunes can turn. "How a team handles adversity tells a lot about mental and physical toughness, resilience and how not to let setbacks mushroom into major problems," she says.

-Creativity and innovation are more likely to occur when employees collaborate and have some fun. "Having some levity in the workplace can help people decompress from stress. Food and social events can be shared in the conference room and not the local bar, which may be appealing to many workers," Kossek says.

-Observing sportsmanship and fair play on the court also can be a lesson in ethics. "This is something nearly every business needs," Kossek says. Flagrant fouls and disrespectful fans demonstrate more clearly than any lecture the value of taking the higher ground when competing.

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