The shame of poor sportsmanship

I have bags under my eyes from staying up late watching the 2012 Olympics. It’s inspiring seeing these incredible athletes compete, knowing they have worked so hard to be an Olympic competitor. Witnessing their pride and emotion on the medal podium always brings tears to my eyes.

The athletes’ gracious sportsmanship is also moving; competitors congratulating their winning opponent, showing humility when winning and supporting and crediting their teammates. It’s beautiful and makes me proud of my fellow human being.

Unfortunately, there are also episodes of poor sportsmanship. You may have heard about the women’s badminton team that deliberately played poorly so they would lose the match and then be placed against a team they could beat. That goes against the spirit of the games of giving it your all so that the best athlete or team wins.

I applaud the Badminton World Federation for acting quickly by suspending and disqualifying these women. Cheating is wrong.

How can we take these lessons and apply them to the workplace? I think it’s pretty simple. Those who work hard, give credit where credit is due, are courteous to their employees and colleagues and have integrity, will be better employees. These folks will win more gold medals.

Those who point out others’ mistakes, take credit for colleagues’ work, or skate by by doing as little as possible could find themselves in the same place as the disqualified badminton team – suspended or fired.

Be your Olympic best at work every day. Your career will soar and so will your team.

What do you think of the decision to reprimand these athletes? Do you think the punishment was deserved? Have you seen examples of cheating and being selfish at the workplace? How did you react?


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Arden Clise is founder and president of Clise Etiquette. Her love for business etiquette began in previous jobs when she was frequently asked for etiquette, public speaking and business attire advice by executives and board members. The passion for etiquette took hold and compelled Arden to start a consulting business to help others. Read more >>

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