Being last year’s champion of The Masters golf tournament may be one of the toughest jobs in sports. It’s difficult because last year’s champion places the green jacket (the coveted prize one receives for winning The Masters) on the new champion, the player who wins this year.
Today, this act was even more difficult than normal. This is because Jordan Spieth, last year’s champion, was also leading the 2016 Masters after 65 holes, with just seven holes to play. On the 12th hole today, Spieth shot a 7 on a par-3. These four strokes sent Spieth reeling, and he could never recover. In the end, he finished tied for second place.
So after the tournament, Spieth had to put the green jacket on Danny Willett, the new champion. Spieth was visibly upset over the way his string of 7 consecutive rounds in the lead of The Masters (he won last year’s tournament and led through the first 3 1/2 rounds this year) came to an end. Yet he mustered up the courage, sportsmanship, professionalism, and strength to put the jacket on Willett.
Today was a good reminder that things won’t always go our way. In fact, sometimes they’ll go horribly wrong. As leaders, these times give us the opportunity to model tremendous leadership behaviors. When we model courage, sportsmanship, professionalism, and strength in these challenging times, it gives our team members the motivation and encouragement to respond similarly to difficult situations.
I know it was a difficult day for Jordan Spieth. But we can certainly learn about dignity and respect by watching how he responded to this challenge. I am sure Spieth will learn from today’s difficult final seven holes, and he will use the lessons to make him even better than he is now. You can learn from Jordan Spieth as well. Model courage, dignity, and sportsmanship for your team members, and they will grow stronger as a team, especially when they face great adversity.
Thanks for reading,
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