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How To Use the Tools in Your "Bag" To Improve Performance

Do you find yourself relying on the same leadership skills, time after time? You're not alone: Most people play to their strengths when they're facing a tough stretch.

 

However, you have a lot more in your bag than just your go-to skills. In a game of golf, you have 14 clubs to choose from. You have at least as many skills, techniques and characteristics to use in your day-to-day duties as a leader.

 

Every Set Is Different

 

You may be a master orator. You may have vision and focus. Maybe you lead with knowledge, generating confidence in your clients and inspiring productivity in your team.

 

Leaders all have similar characteristics, but no two people have the exact same combination of skills, priorities, background and principles. Even if you do resemble another leader almost exactly, you'll probably have different strengths and weaknesses: Everyone specializes.

 

When you watch pro golfers, you'll see that it's the same. No two pros have the same set of clubs. Even if their sets are similar, there's a chance that they'll make different choices in the same situation.

 

Everybody Works at It

 

Watching pros in action, you might get the idea that they're born into mastery of the sport. The drives, the fairway game and the play on the green are all seamless. Like you in your leadership role, they know the course. They visualize their success. Then they follow through.

 

Success in golf and success in leadership can both look like the result of natural talent. The secret is that these triumphs are more than just luck — they're the results of hard work, preparation and personal reflection.

 

Every Day Is a Learning Opportunity

 

Some choices are easy — you can use your go-to skills for many situations. It's a bit different when you're caught in a tight spot. You need more than honed skill and experience to get you through under par. How do you get to the point where you make the right decisions naturally?

 

1.       Start small: Ask yourself which club is best for the shot. Once you recognize that you have a choice, your job as a leader is going to become much easier. After you know you can choose, it's time to start making the right choices.

2.       In terms of improving your golf game, you can get to know more about your clubs. It's a similar process with your leadership bag. Take an honest personal inventory or ask people who've seen you in action.

3.       Once you've spent some time identifying your skills, values and motivations — the how, what and why — it's time to start developing your strengths and reinforcing your weaknesses.

 

Leadership is about more than knowing the course. Get comfortable with everything in your bag, and you'll be empowered to make the right choices.

Phil Gafka