A Tiger’s Only Human, After All…

Concerning the recent news about Tiger Woods and the trouble he is having these days, what’s the news that no one is talking about?  That Tiger had an affair (or two or ten… or fourteen)?  That his wife is considering sending him packing?  That his sponsors are dumping him?  That we’re all so horribly disappointed that the poster child for (enter your favorite identity politics category here) let us down?  No… they all miss the point. The miss the point by a mile.

The big shocker is… that we’re shocked at all.

A Google search reveals over twenty thousand hits for “Tiger Woods affair“, and only six for “Tiger Woods ‘Why are we surprised‘”.

Real Questions

What makes Tiger different than any one of us?  His unimpeachable moral character? His storybook biracial upbringing?  His “buy our toothpaste” smile?  His killer pecks that any self-respecting guy would die for?  No.  What makes Tiger different is that he’s an unbelievable golfer.  That’s it.  He hits the little white ball a freakin’ mile… and arguably more accurately and consistently that anyone ever has in the history of the game.

Now, allow me to assert a theory here that you are free to blast to smithereens (yes, it’s a real word that some of you younguns may need to look up).

Theory:

To prevent ourselves from having to face our own demons, we ascribe near perfection (and in the case of certain US presidents, perfection itself) to people whom we don’t want to fail us.  We categorically refuse to learn the lesson that history has been teaching us for millennia.

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men (with a shout out to Lord Acton for documenting the obvious).

Why did we ever think Tiger was any less capable of abominable behavior that you or me?  He was raised with the same kind of defective parents, in the same defective culture, and hung out with the same kind of defective friends as the rest of us.  I sometimes wonder who is the more delusional…  the ones who get caught, or the rest of us who wonder why they got caught.  Folks, we are all capable of the worst we see in others.  You, me, all of us.  The difference is a) whether we get caught, and b) the consequences once we do get caught.

The Leadership Connection

If my theory is true (and in the case of my own moral condition, it certainly is), then one of the hallmarks of a genuine, trustworthy leader is that they are voluntarily surrounded by enough personal and organizational checks and balances to sink a ship.  If not, then run for the hills, ‘cause their house of cards is going to fall down – it’s only a matter of when and where.  A trustworthy leader is one who acknowledges the blackness of his own heart, and safeguards himself and his organization (and his family, and himself) against it.  It’s someone who tries hard to catch herself doing little things wrong so she won’t wake up one morning reading the headlines about the big one.

It’s someone who sees accountability as an asset not an obstacle; sees criticism as a blessing not a curse; and sees morality as the cornerstone of organizational survival.

What say you?  Do you see any examples of a shaky house of leadership cards lately?  Any examples of trustworthy leader that surfaces their failures quickly and publicly?  I would love to have you comment.

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—————————————
R. Ian Davis is President / CEO of
Davis & Company: Human Capital Strategists,
Executive Coach and Leadership Consultant with various leading consultancies such as Lee Hecht Harrison, CLG, and others,
Lecturer in matters of Human Capital Strategy with prominent universities including Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, and
Member of the Linked2Leadership Executive Council.  Ian can be reached at ian@workforcecustomization.com.
Image Sources: reuters.com, wfan.com, golf.com, decoder.drugfree.org

The Coaching Venue: Is It Live, Or Is It Memorex?

While advising people in top leadership positions has been going on for a long time (remember that Daniel was Nebuchadnezzar II‘s Executive Coach in Babylon a mere 26 centuries ago), only recently has the term “executive coach” come into vogue.

One of the debates that rages in executive coaching circles is the same as in real estate: location, location, location. What locations are appropriate for conducting executive coaching?

Is it Live? Or is it Memorex?

In The Sherpa Guide: Process-Driven Executive Coaching Brenda Corbett and Judith Coleman are strong proponents of the face-to-face approach. “Most communication is visual, nonverbal… Over the phone, visual stimuli are removed. Email takes away even more, stripping inflection and tone of voice from the relationship.”

And while there are few coaches that decry the face to face approach, Cameron Powell, Head Coach at Feroce Coaching indicates that “coaching done by email, Instant Messenger, and telephone, is not only the most prevalent form of non-athletic coaching in the world, it is considered by many to be more effective than doing the same thing in person.”

What form of coaching are you most comfortable with? What do you think is most effective in today’s busy workplace?

Bookmark The Coaching Venue: Is It Live, Or Is It Memorex?

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R. Ian Davis is Head Coach at Called2Communicate in Pittsburgh, PA
He serves middle and high-school students in the fine art of communication
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook

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The Greatest Servant Leader(s) I’ve Ever Met

One Person. One Family. One Block at a Time.

Sometimes the best original research isn’t done by academics in tweed jackets with chewed up pipes (sorry, I’m showing my age)… I mean hip dudes in torn jeans with pictures of Che Guevara on their office wall and their nation’s flag lying under their chair.  Sometimes it’s done by folks like us who have logged a few miles in life and have just “been there done that”.  This is often the case with leadership.

And so it is as I consider the greatest servant leaders I’ve ever met.

Ed and Tammy Glover run a ministry called the Urban Impact Foundation, in my home of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.  They seek to serve others by reaching out through their faith. Urban Impact Foundation’s purpose is to:

…enlist God’s help in building positive relationships with youth on Pittsburgh’s North Side. We ask for His guidance in mending the wounds of needy children. From there we can work to change Pittsburgh one person, one family, and one block at a time. 

Pastor Ed says, “At Urban Impact, we’re providing options for those who have few or no options.”  He and Tammy live on Pittsburgh’s “north side”, one of the most crime-infested, drug-ridden, hostile places in Pittsburgh, and perhaps America.  They have chosen to live in this community that they serve, along with their four children Nathan, Joshua, Jonathan, and Abigail.  Ed runs the overall Foundation which includes sports (along with several Pittsburgh Steelers and Pitt Panthers), academic assistance, summer day camp, and leadership development.  Tammy runs the Urban Impact Foundation Performing Arts Academy and Choir which performed on the 2007 WQED (PBS) Christmas Special.  Their contributions to this community are too numerous to mention, so have a look in their own words at a small part of their servant leadership.  

Why is this great servant leadership?  It’s simple… paraphrasing the words of Rick Warren:  It’s not about them – it never was.

Please tell us at L2L about the Greatest Servant Leader You’ve Ever Met.

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