I was watching the last few holes of the Tour Championship golf tournament yesterday as Jordan Spieth not only won the competition but also the overall FedEx Championship (and a $10 million bonus!). It was quite something to watch.
For me it was not all about the golf.
Before I get to the point, a little about Jordan Spieth: 22 years old, the youngest player to win FIVE tournaments in a season and in the words of more than one person in my household… such a nice guy!
The golf was amazing. But the interview afterwards was intriguing. The questions were typical: How does it feel? How did you get here? How did you recover from two straight ‘missing the cuts’ earlier in the season?
His answers? We prepared extensively for this day. We are all really happy. When the times got tough, we just re-focused and got back in the game. We are all looking forward to a few days off before we get back to work.
We. We. We.
Not once did he say the words ‘I’ or ‘me’.
Thankfully, the interviewer picked it up and asked him about the ‘we’ to which the young champion did what he was supposed to do: give credit where credit is due. But in my mind he had done so already. His vocabulary was all about the team around him – the coaches, trainers, physiotherapists and of course family.
Saying thank you afterwards is important. But when we hear our leaders constantly talking about the team, referring to us as “we’, the recognition is far greater.
Leading projects, organizations or any kind of initiative requires a solid team and a great leader. The best leaders will see that as one unit right from the start.
In the end, the words ‘We did it!’ will sound real and reveal a leader’s true colours. Even in a 22 year old golfer.