Leadership and the French Open – Sometimes You Gotta Get Dirty
I am sure some of you clicked on this story with the hopes (or curiosity) that I might compare Gordon Gecko to all the cheating grunters on tour today. However, I am choosing the high road as always! The French Open is unique among tennis grand slams in that it is played on the dirt! French Open champions must commit to slip, slide, dive and sometimes unceremoniously fall to emerge victorious at the end of the tournament. And victors often do the equivalent of clay “snow angels” at the end of the tournament as a form of celebration.
So what are you prepared to do as a victorious leader?
- Slide – You can always tell the naturals from the pretenders when it comes to clay court prowess. The naturals slide into their shots while remaining perfectly balanced. The “I can’t believe I have to play on dirt” crowd tries to daintily tiptoe around the court to maintain their balance. Ultimately, they slip and fall. Natural leaders do not fight their conditions and environment; instead, they embrace and adapt to them. Let criticism and trials slide off your back and remain in balance to execute your winning strategy.
- Dive – Unlike hard courts, clay tennis courts provide a softer landing. Sure, you are going to get dirty, but that wholehearted commitment may be the difference between match point and break point! Great leaders are not diving around their organization haphazardly; however, they pick opportune times to be difference-makers with their employees and clients. Do not develop a hero-complex! You will burnout or cause injuries in the forms of stress. Great clay court players put in the work and preparation upfront, so they can stand upright to execute their winning strategy. They only dive to seize the moment. Be a sound leader everyday while looking for opportunities to seize the moment.
- Celebrate – After the thousands of hours of preparation, the tense and competitive moments, the battles against exhaustion itself, and the execution of a great strategy with a hefty dose of luck on the side – one player stands victorious at the end of the French Open. What does that player do? Fall down, of course. It is time to shed protocol and pride and simply celebrate the well-earned victory. Great leaders take the time to celebrate their victories. Really great leaders find ways to include their teams and pass the accolades to the team members. Be Human. Be Accessible. Do not be afraid to show some joy – it makes it easier to accept when you are showing “non-joy”!
So, are you ready to get a little dirty on your way to victories through great leadership?