Sports teams are not much different than businesses.

This became increasingly clear to me at my daughter’s volleyball tournament this past weekend. As I sat at the game, I examined the roles of each player, the management style of the coach and how they all worked together as one cohesive unit.

Here are four key lessons that I took away from the court that you can apply in your own business.

1. Play into strengths. Teams in volleyball consist of six individuals with specific attributes and skill sets. Middle blockers, usually the tallest on the team, are responsible for keeping the opponent’s hitters in check. The setter, on the other hand, is the player with the greatest communication and leadership talents. The best teams are those that play into these individual strengths and bring them together around a common goal.

The same is true in business. Think about your team members and their strengths. One person might be a stellar writer, while another offers strong presenting skills. Together, they should work cohesively to obtain the best results.

2. Support different personalities. On the court, I saw girls who were boisterous and outgoing and girls who were shy and reserved, girls who enjoyed taking the shot and girls who were more satisfied supporting others to take the shot, girls who reacted negatively when a play didn’t go well and girls who accepted responsibility for the play and moved on.

Does this sound like your office environment? As a business leader, you must recognize and effectively use different personalities to ensure high performance. Encourage extroverts and introverts to work together. Their various strengths will build on each other and create a great energy among the team.

In our business coaching firm and in the companies we work with, we use the DiSC test to help us identify and analyze the range of personalities on a team. Not only does the test tell you where people stand relative to the four personality types of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness, but the test’s supporting materials provide valuable advice on how to best communicate with the different personality types and integrate them into your team.

3. Practice makes perfect. In volleyball, players practice far more hours than they play in a game. From passing drills to bleacher jumps, this practice gives them the knowledge, skills and endurance to succeed on the court on game day.

Practice in business takes many forms, too. Planning, reading, education and communication are all business practices that will give you and your team the tools to reach your goals. The team that takes the time to practice will always beat the team that just shows up to the game.

4. Don’t manage; coach. The role of coaches is to provide their players with the guidance they need to improve and succeed. Sure, they must have the technical skill to teach players certain aspects of the sport, but great coaches have more than that. They possess certain characteristics that create harmony within a team, such as good communication, patience and approachability.

Business leaders should think of themselves as coaches rather than managers. Develop your team members into leaders themselves. When you work in collaboration with your team, you will create a more enjoyable work environment where everyone is constantly learning and mentoring.

Know the strengths of your team and place each individual “player” in the appropriate role within your company. From there, your job will be to coach each team member on how to improve his or her skills and best work with each other to reach a common goal. Go team!

This story was originally published in The Tennessean.