The age old question, are leaders born or are they made? I’m sure many have opinions but the question of leadership is not as simple as personality traits but rather our typical responses in highly pressurized situations.

We usually do not discuss leadership in the realms of golf, as it is an individual sport (i.e. nobody leading the team so to speak) but golf gets dialed into the leadership discussion during the Ryder Cup. This year we saw Tom Watson send all 3 rookies into the Friday morning matchups (first matches of the tournament) as opposed to Europe captain Paul McGinley sending just one rookie in. Paul McGinley stated “My ideas might backfire as well, but that’s what you do as captain. You make your decisions, set out your stall, see what happens and you adapt to what happens.” (

It is not a matter of being right when a leader makes a decision but if that so called decision does not work – how well do they adapt and make their next decision? There is no way a leader is right 100% of the time but our best or world-class leaders are able to adapt, most who struggle in leadership get caught up with emotions in the wrong decision which increases the internal and external pressure on themselves and inhibits proper responses. It is how we respond that makes us strong leaders as opposed to our personality’s psychological core.

Strong leaders hold themselves accountable to the process of success even after “bad” decisions. There is a strong determination and intensity under stress to determine the proper route to success. What holds most “amateur” (i.e. coaches) leaders is that their emotions on “bad” decisions seem to impale their thought process, they do not seek opportunities in negative situations, and they see the current situation as a threat. When pressure arises the majority of individuals are not willing to take another step, their emotions halts them, however strong leadership takes the steps nobody else bothers with because of an optimal mindset to handle adversity. Mediocrity requires us to stay put in our comfort zone, lacking a desire to comprehend our end goals.

In order for leadership to flourish, the self-worth of a leader is not dependent on right or wrong decisions but the process of adapting to those decisions and creating standards. Leadership is responding to our environment and situations with a clear understanding of the “next move.”

Leadership is an everyday commitment through good and bad.

Comments are closed.