Pro football coaches have a notoriously hard job. For the past several months, Andy Reid and Kyle Shanahan, the head coaches for the teams in this weekend’s Super Bowl, have been continuously motivating dozens of young players, studying hours of film to develop a strategy, then adjusting that strategy during games.
It’s senior leaders in other industries think it’s a breeze, however, compared to being a Fortune 500 CEO. Indeed, 63% of professionals tell Korn Ferry that the boss of publicly traded firm has a tougher job than a head coach in the National Football League.
Korn Ferry surveyed more than 500 corporate professionals in the month leading up to the Super Bowl. Nearly half, or 46%, said they’d rather be an NFL head coach than a Fortune 500 CEO.
Despite the job being “easier,” an NFL head coach does have similar mandate as a CEO: motivate employees, outperform the competition and develop good relationships with other stakeholders. Plus, top NFL coaches, much like top CEOs, often groom and mentor their subordinates so one day they can assume a top role. “The most effective leaders – in the corporate boardroom and on the football field – understand how to develop and encourage talent to rise above the rest,” says Dennis Baltzley, Korn Ferry’s global head of leadership development.
The survey asked how some of the players and coaches participating in the big game would do in the corporate world. When asked who would be a better CEO of a Fortune 500 company, nearly two-thirds, or 64%, picked the Kansas City Chiefs’ Andy Reid over the San Francisco 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan. Slightly more than half, or 53%, said Reid gets the most out of his team and 61% said they’d rather have Reid as a boss instead of Shanahan. But when asked about which quarterback would be better in the c-suite, 58% of respondents preferred the 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo over the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes.
While most senior leaders heaped praise on players and coaches of both teams, there was considerable agreement on which team will win the Super Bowl; 69% picked the Chiefs.