Posted on: June 30th, 2011 by Jen Mueller

I’m a big fan of using sports conversations and topics to break the ice and improve workplace communications.  I’m also a proponent of using sports examples to broach some of the more delicate or uncomfortable subjects in the workplace, like identifying appropriate behavior when leaving a company or venting frustrations.

Here’s an example: a week ago Jim Riggleman suddenly resigned as manager of the Washington Nationals. I was actually covering that game with the Mariners and saw the drama play out immediately after the game. 

Riggleman demanded a new contract by the end of the day and when it became clear he wasn’t getting one, he abruptly quit.  Reaction to the news was mixed among the players, coaches and media members.   Some said he deserved enough respect to get the contract extension, others felt it was extremely unprofessional to leave on those terms during the middle of the season.

This story is still playing out in D.C. and provides a good opportunity to talk to your colleagues or employees about appropriate workplace behavior. You don’t have to take a side on the Riggleman drama, but use that example to spark conversation about what you expect in the workplace and how things should be handled.  It’s much easier to get out ahead of potential issues than deal with them after the fact.


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Jen Mueller is the Founder and CEO of Talk Sporty to Me.  She’s available to speak for keynotes, presentations and workshops.  Contact for more information. She also developed a line of popular greeting cards as another way to build rapport.  They are available on her website

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