The “sweet spot”, a term used typically in relation to the best point of ball impact on clubs used in the sport of golf, is often misused by club manufacturers when they boast that their clubs have “a larger sweet spot” – suggesting that amateurs have less chance of messing up the shot when they hit the ball. This isn’t true, however, as the “sweet spot” on any golf club is a point on the club face that is no bigger than the sharp end of a pin. Nothing that equipment manufacturers can do can ever make it bigger.
The “sweet spot” has nothing to do with the design of the golf club, as such. Instead, it’s the exact point on the face where, when you strike a golf ball, the centre of gravity of the club head is moving directly towards the centre of gravity of the golf ball. Both centres of gravity are exact points – infinitely small, making the “sweet spot” equally small. The reason that this spot is “sweet” is that, when the centre of gravity of the club head is moving directly towards the centre of gravity of the golf ball at impact, this provides the optimal energy transfer from the club head to the ball. If you strike the ball with the sweet spot of the club, with a square club face and path, the ball will fly straight and true and the ball will travel the maximum distance that your golf swing will allow.
Appropriate energy transfer is the “sweet spot” in leadership. It is about vision, confidence-building and empowerment. To enable energy transfer to followers, leaders should focus on the following:
- Providing a clear “big picture” vision – employees need an understanding of the company’s desired future reality and the impact that this will have on the company and its customers. As such, employees need to be well-grounded in the mission – a sense of purpose that propels action and aligns team behaviours towards the achievement of specific goals.
- Delegating and enabling appropriately – a company vision is never achieved singularly. It requires appropriate levels of autonomy and authority to be distributed across the organisation for teams to function innovatively and creatively.
- Being present frequently – leadership presence inspires others and engenders trust. It gives all employees accessibility to managers and enables communication effectiveness, opening channels to share ideas and provide warning regarding potential risks.
- Acknowledging success and recognising achievement – recognition not only reinforces the kind of behaviour that is expected from employees in the company, but also serves as a motivational tool to focus staff on achieving worthy goals. The celebration of successes breeds a sense of “we are noticed” amongst employees, enhancing self-respect and pride at the same time.
- Providing focused training and adequate resources – the opportunity to develop skills and enhance the possibility of promotion are valuable steps for all employees. From an organisational point of view, leaders can harness newly-acquired skills to propel further growth for the company.
Appropriate energy transfer is the “sweet spot” in leadership. The word “leadership”, of itself, implies the motivation of followers to garner their energy to achieve noble ambitions. As such, leaders should transfer energy unselfishly to employees, empowering them appropriately towards combined success.