Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the opening party for the new PGA of America Headquarters. I got a chance to take a picture with all the main PGA trophies. They were large and beautiful.

However, on the way home, I was thinking about it. While it’s cool to pose with the trophies, how much more would it mean to win one? While the world admires the polished medal, the winner admires all the work that went into winning one.

When I run leadership seminars, I always talk to the leaders and “leaders” in the companies I speak to. I find two types. The leaders are those who take pride in the work and processes that go into the success of the company. Their joy doesn’t come from the trophy or the goal, but rather the building of the teams and the growth of the individuals in the team that led to the result. These leaders create winning cultures and flourishing sustainable companies.

Then there are the “leaders.” Those who want all the credit, care only about being seen winning. These types care about being the one holding the trophy, they care about what the title on the business card says, they care only about the appearance of success. They create toxic cultures and failing companies.

As a leader, ask yourself, am I smiling at my success because I’m proud of the work, or am I a poser that wants to be seen as successful to validate the work I haven’t done?

Be a leader, not a “leader.” Earn your trophy today.

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