Court-side Leadership From Naomi Osaka

No matter who you are or what sport (if any) you prefer, no doubt you've heard of the young tennis phenom, Coco Gauff. Her tenacious play and grit has earned her the respect of superstar Serena Williams and commentators across the globe. Back in August, Coco took her skills to the court to take on another phenom, Naomi Osaka, who was defending her US Open title.

Arguably, the world watched a blockbuster matchup of a young African American and Japenese American who are still in the embryonic stages of their careers. However, these two rising stars did something that took the conversation well beyond their much hyped tennis match. The buzz is about what happened after the lopsided 6-3, 6-0 Osaka win. I call it “Courtside Leadership” because, what Osaka did after the match serves as a great example of how great leaders steward their wins and harness their influence.

After the match, in a move not seen often in tennis, Naomi embraced Coco and asked her if she would share her interview with her on court at Arthur Ashe Stadium. While Coco initially said she didn't want to do it, because she knew she would cry, she ultimately relented and joined Naomi.

There are three (3) key leadership take-a-ways from this amazing display of gratuity:

  • Esteeming others does not diminish your authority or who you are.

  • A leaders humility is a far greater legacy than winning in the moment.

  • How leaders act after wins is a window into their true character.

If you are a leader, a person of influence or just want to continually be better at esteeming others:

  • Celebrate someone in a tangible way, maybe a handwritten note or even a gift card to Starbucks.

  • Encourage someone who have had a setback in their life or career, let them know they matter.

  • Think of 3 living people with whom you are grateful and tell them just that, “I’m grateful for you!”



Inspired by his passion for seeing radical success in others, Kelvin focuses on helping organizations and their leaders achieve greater productivity, team synergy, and higher engagement levels.

3 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All