Dan Naden

Golf and Leadership

The sun had just risen. The deer pranced across the dewy grass. A few lonely ducks squawked on a nearby lake. Time was frozen. It was 6:30am on a Sunday morning. Time for golf.

I recently played a round of golf with my father and was thinking how the truths in golf are very similar to the core tenets of leadership. Playing golf with my father is one of the most joyous parts of my life I would like to share.

Throughout the golf round, we pured some shots, duffed a few, and generally were challenged with placing that small white ball into the hole. It came to me at about hole 7, a relatively tame Par 3 with trouble to the right of the green, that honesty, determination, and enthusiasm were core to both golf and leadership.

Honesty: Any strong leader knows how important it is to face up to mistakes. When you’ve erred, step up and admit your transgressions to your fellow team members. And when it’s time to celebrate: go ahead and bring team members together for some merriment.

On the golf course, we have a reality check every time we complete a hole and reach for the scorecard pencil. What did we get on that hole? Are we going to count that lost ball? I really got a 6 not a 7. As many a golfer have said, you are only cheating yourself if you incorrectly score a hole.

Determination: Leadership is not for the faint of heart. You will be challenged with long hours, belligerent managers, unreasonable expectations, and inflated egos. Strong leaders, however, push through the difficulties and drive results, exceeding expectations with flying colors.

On the golf course, you will inevitably face some stretches where your swing has deserted you.

Why do I feel like a lumberjack and not a golfer? To find success on the course, you have to be determined enough to fight through those ‘low spots’ and get your rhythm back to the forefront. Never give up.

Enthusiasm: Smile. Laugh. Be positive. Don’t we all want to be around people who make us feel good? We want our leaders to be the ‘beacon of light’ that we crave on a daily basis. Our leaders should not belittle, but make us believe that we can tackle any challenge set before us.

When playing golf, it is imperative that you keep an upbeat attitude at all times. Surely, there will be times when you sense that your golf game is letting you down. It is at those points where you need to take in the fresh air, listen the the wind whistling through the trees, and remember that you are out there to have fun.

Now get out there and be a leader both on the course and in life!!

Until next time,

Dan Naden
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