The Winning Mindset of a True Leader
Subject: Leadership, Vision, Management, Teamwork
By Victor Antonio G.
When I was first starting out in business, I was going 90 miles an hour everyday at work. I wanted to be successful and I wanted it bad. I remember waiting for the chance to be a leader, move into the management ranks and be the boss. That day eventually came and I couldn't be happier. Along with this new responsibility came the need to create winning teams in order to produce the desire results.
As a young manager, I often found myself getting very angry or upset when my ideas weren't listened to or my instructions weren't followed. And, God forbid anyone question my authority or judgment. I recall trying to get people to listen to me and if they didn't, well, they weren't team players. And I am not afraid to confess to you that I did everything in my power to remove them from my group. Call it ego, cal it stupidity, call it arrogance or all the above and more. Since that time I've learned a lot about what a great leader is and what a great leader does in order to create strong teams.
One of the greatest lessons I've learned is how to develop the winning mindset. The winning mindset for me comes down to this, "Never try to win". Now this may sound like a contradiction but let me explain with an example.
One evening we were at a bar discussing business which eventually led to a conversation about policies, which eventually led to a conversation about politics (TABOO). A woman at the table had her definite opinions on a subject I didn't quite agree with. (Note: a smarter man would've left the conversation slide) I could tell she was passionate about the subject and no matter what anyone at the table said, she would basically shout them down.
It was then that I decided to apply the "winning mindset approach" (i.e., enter the conversation without any NEED to win). So I disagreed with the woman who then proceed to read me the riot act on how I was so shortsighted.
Without getting upset or emotional in the least, I asked her to clarify, for my understanding, some of the comments she'd made earlier. As she explained, I kept probing for more clarity. Now mind you, I was neither trying to win the conversation or embarrass her. I was simply curious and wanted to learn more.
As I kept probing deeper, I could tell her answers and explanations were getting more scant and ambiguous. As I kept pressing I could tell she was getting more irate with me. I clearly explained to her that it was not my intention to upset or question her, but that I simply wanted to understand.
Somewhere along my line of questioning, she had had enough. She said, "You are a real $#@! You think you're so damn smart don't you? "
I was stunned by this abrupt change in tone and tactic. I didn't know what to say. And before I could say anything coherent, she got up and left. My friends at the table were stunned for a moment and then broke out into laughter saying, "That was great. You really showed her."
I didn't have the heart to tell my friends that I was being sincere. I really DID want to know why she thought the way she did. It was on this night that I learned the power of the winning mindset. Power doesn't come from wanting to win, but from simply questioning and learning without the expectation of winning.
The advantage I had over the woman was that my ego wasn't attached to the conversation. I didn't care about being right, I cared about understanding. The conversation I was trying to have, was just that, a conversation; not a verbal tennis match to see who was better or smarter.
I read a study many years ago that talked about how a good portion of your logical thinking or cognition shuts down when we get emotional. Maybe that's what happen to the woman. All I know is that throughout the conversation, I was at peace with the notion of only wanting to learn from a fellow human being than trying to win a conversation.
Try it sometime. The next time you get into a heated discussion. Step back and remind yourself that the objective is not winning, it's learning something new from someone else. Learn to detach yourself from the conversation, and instead of focusing in on impressing someone or being right, let go of any objective but to learn more.
Please forward this article; share it with a friend who may need a few words of inspiration.
Victor Antonio G., a top business motivational speaker and author of “The LOGIC of Success”.
Copyright © 2004 by Victor Antonio G. All rights reserved. This article MAY be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, as long as the author’s name, website and email address are included as part of the article’s body. All inquiries, including information on electronic licensing, should be directed to Victor Antonio G., www.VictorAntonio.com
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