I decided this was the year that I would finally learn to golf. It’s a sport I have observed from afar, yet never seemed to have the time to pursue. So I found a great pro at our local golf course and have been taking lessons. Learning from a pro is important because the coach can hold up the mirror, identify my weaknesses, help me change my bad habits and leverage the strengths I have. For the first two lessons I didn’t even hit a ball as it’s important to “get the foundation right” (foot position, hand grip, eye direction, stance, etc.) and obtain a ”model/mentor” of what a good swing is all about.
I’ve been struck by the many parallels between learning to golf and the fundamentals of leadership. First, a good foundation is key and that involves taking an inventory of the critical competencies you have already. How well do you influence and persuade others? How effectively do you articulate and deliver your messages? What key relationships do you need to foster in your role and how would you assess them today? How do you get people to listen to what you have to say and follow your lead? Once you have taken the inventory, leverage the strong skills you HAVE and start to gain feedback; then spend time learning and practicing the skills that you NEED to enhance. Some of this you can and should do on your own. Of course the help of a good coach or mentor will provide the professional objectivity, nudging, course correction and accountability necessary to really get in the game or on the course!