Leadership Lessons from the Golf Course

I spent this past weekend on the west coast, and got to spend some time with my cousins on the golf course.

They’re all avid golfers who get to play in the gorgeous SoCal weather year-round, and it was such a treat to play with people who make it look so easy.

Our day on the course made me think a lot about life, and leadership.

First off, let me just say that the course was, in a word, challenging.  Lots of obstacles. (kind of sounds like life, doesn’t it?)  So much water and sand I thought I was at the beach on a few holes.

Watching how my cousin Tim shows up on the golf course prompted me to think a lot about how golf and leadership have many parallels.  And while I only know him in a family setting, I think it’s safe to assume that this high-power SoCal attorney shows up in much the same way for his firm.

He’s the “on the green in one” kind of golfer, and while he makes it look easy, he naturally takes everyone around him under his wing, and has a vested and genuine interest in their betterment.

In addition to Tim’s mentoring, my other two cousins would cheer me on (even through the bad shots…let me tell you, there were several!) 

Finally by the 7th hole I managed to eke out a par (yeah!!!), in large part due to the people I was surrounded by.

While there were many takeaways from the day, there were three main leadership lessons that emerged:

1. Strategy – Smart golfers, and leaders, don’t just walk up to the tee and start swinging for the fences. They spend time up front envisioning the outcome, and chart their course by weighing several options.

2. Mentoring – Taking time to invest in those around you is always a good idea

3. Calmness under pressure – All leaders face pressuresome situations, and it’s up to the leader to set the tone for dealing with the situation with calmness and poise. Stay tuned for more on this in next week’s newsletter.

This week, I’d like you to set aside some time for personal reflection.  Go for a walk, or sit down with your journal, and have fun reflecting on these questions.

Reflection questions for you

  • Do you have a mentor, someone who opens your eyes to different perspectives and ways of approaching life?
  • How do you respond when you encounter obstacles, in life and in business?
  • Do you remain calm under pressure?
  • Are you intentionally spending time in situations where you are not the smartest person in the room (or the best golfer in the foursome :))  ?
  • As a leader, how do you encourage those around you, and provide a supportive, nurturing environment?
  • How can you build more time into your schedule for longer-term, strategic thinking?
  • How do you measure your progress?
  • In what ways do you celebrate your accomplishments?

I’d love to hear your responses to these questions, and give you ideas on how you can maximize your impact as a leader. Click here and we’ll get this show on the road.