Nice guys are, well, nice guys

Professional golf may be the only sport that rates its players on being “nice when no one is looking.”

Golf Digest gives an award for being a “Good Guy.” To win the award, a player must be “nice when no one is looking.”

Being nice is inherent to golf. Competition does not preclude courtesy.

Fans know the good guys from the not-so-good ones. The ones who smile and make eye contact, and will pose for selfies or sign autographs, are fan favorites. The ones who won’t, aren’t. Pretty simple.

What we non-pros can learn from such behavior is how to behave in public. And this is important for leaders, especially. Why? Because leaders like golfers are always on stage, even in their off-hours. For this reason, making nice is not a “nice-to-do” (pun intended); it’s a must-do.

Now, no one is perfect. Bosses, like golfers, lose their cool, but like the nice-guy golfers, they apologize for their behavior. They also seek to make amends by acting more nice -- polite, courteous and approachable -- the next time.

And, guess what? You'll get nice in return, at least most of the time. And if you don’t, well, then suck it up. After all, not everyone plays by the same rules. But good guys always do.

John Baldoni is an internationally recognized leadership educator and executive coach. In 2018, Trust Across America honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Trust. Also in 2018, Inc.com named Baldoni a Top 100 Leadership Speaker. Global Gurus ranked him No. 22 on its list of top 30 global experts, a list he has been on since 2007. In 2014, Inc.com named Baldoni to its list of top 50 leadership experts. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including his newest, “MOXIE: The Secret to Bold and Gutsy Leadership.”

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for SmartBrief’s free e-mail on leadership and communication, among SmartBrief's more than 200 industry-focused newsletters.