When people show you who they are, believe them

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Yesterday I wrote: “Doing the right thing when everyone is watching“, sharing an idea for leaders to model the behaviours they wish to see.

Of course, sometimes we do the wrong thing when everyone is watching, and just after writing that blog news came out of a golfer who did just that.

This had me reflect on a lesson from Maya Angelou.

Matt Kuchar is one of the world’s top golfers, with lifetime earnings over $46 million, putting him 10th on the all-time career earnings list.

In golf, your caddy is very important to your performance, and some golfers have the same caddy for years on end. The convention is that such caddies are paid 10% of what a golfer wins when they win a tournament.

Late last year Kuchar did not have a regular caddy, but instead, a local caddy worked for him and Kuchar agreed to pay him up to $5000 depending on whether he made the cut to play all four rounds.

Kuchar, who had not been playing well, surprised many when he won the tournament, earning $1,300,000 in the process.

He then still paid the caddy $5,000, not anywhere near the $130,000 a regular caddy would have been paid.

You can read the full story here as to how he ended up paying him a lot more only when the story went fully public. However, suffice to say it never occurred to Mr Kuchar to pay any more than the $5000 he had negotiated, certainly never occurred to him to be abundant and generous with the caddy who had helped him win well over $1million.

As Maya Angelou taught Oprah, when someone shows you who they are, believe them. Matt Kuchar just showed the world who he is.

Who are you and how do you show the world?


Also published on Medium.

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