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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Vasilca

Mysteries of Leadership - Third Principle - On Win-Win Mentality

This post takes the discussion about the Third Principle of leadership a step further by addressing the topic of win-win mentality. What does it mean to think "I win and so do you"? What is it based on? Why is it so important to the art and science of leadership?

As a refresher, The Third Principle of Leadership is also called Your Core Knowledge. It states that you cannot be a leader of men if you do not have adequate expertise in your trade, profession, or other activity areas. An military officer cannot lead his troops unless he's is very knowleageable in the science and art of war. A pastor cannot be a good servant leader if he's not, first of all, a good pastor.

However, besides possessing professional knowledge, an aspiring leader must also study the art of leadership. This endeavor requires the acquision ot theoretical know-how, information, facts and data from the vast fields of psychology, human relations, history and principles of leadership, time management, behavioral sciences, etc.


Shows a corn full of fruits
The WIN - WIN mentality


The Win-Lose Matrix

A useful way to understand human relations is to look at them through the lens of who wins and who loses in a relationship. If we arrange the words WIN and LOSE in a matrix, we will get four possible outcomes, as shown below. We can regard them as the Ways or Strategies for managing relations between people.







The first way in managing human relations is by adopting the Win-Lose attitude. In popular culture, the Win-Lose is known as the Rat Race. Win-Lose is a paradigm towards life that says the pie of success is only so big, and if you get a large piece, there is less for me. To avoid this, I'm going to make sure I get my slice first, and get a bigger part than yours.

Win-Lose is competitive, egoistic, and full of pride. Relationships, friendships, and loyalty are all secondary to winning the game, being the best, and having it your way. Unfortunately, it is the most prevalent attitude in the current society.
This strategy of managing relations is applied by people who consider themselves strong, competitive, and aggressive. It rests on the mentality, "I don't care about you; I care only about me," and that life is a Zero-Sum Game. It is based on a paradigm of comparison, "I am better than you; therefore, I must be above you," and competitiveness, "I must win; therefore, you must lose."

Examples of such people are bullies, authoritative bosses, rude and inconsiderate persons, overbearing parents, etc. While it is true that being decisive and competitive may be useful in specific fields such as sports, military, cut-throat businesses, etc., they are not helpful in human relations. Why is that? Because they do not lead to equality and happiness in the relationship. The unjust person wants to force the relationship on you and wants quick wins at your expense. Such relationships do not last.
 A Win-Lose attitude wears many ugly faces:

• using other people, emotionally or physically, for your selfish purposes.

• trying to get ahead at the expense of someone else

• always insisting on having your way without thinking about others' feelings.

• getting jealous when something good happens to someone close to you.

In the end, the Win-Lose usually backfires. You may end up on the top of the pole, but you will be there alone and without friends. In the words of actress Lily Tomlin, "The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat." So true!


This is Strategy No. 2. Lose-Win is the opposite of Win-Lose, being the attitude of people who mistakenly consider themselves peacemakers or appeasers. They are the nice guys. Unfortunately, trying to please others all the time doesn't work; it just shows how weak you actually are. Lose-Win looks humble and gentle on the surface, but it is as dangerous and unproductive as Win-Lose. Lose-Win denotes lacking strength, not gentleness. It is easy to give in, all in the name of being a peacemaker.

Why is Lose-Win unhealthy? Simply because you'll find yourself setting lower and lower expectations for yourself and compromising your standards forever. Giving in to peer pressure is Lose-Win. Perhaps you don't want to go to the party, but the group insists you come. So you give in just to show you're a "team player." What happens? Well, you lose, and they win. So you don't feel good about yourself.

If you adopt Lose-Win as your essential attitude toward life, then people will always take advantage of you and, for sure, will start abusing you. 
A couple of examples of Lose-Win situations:

• In marriage, one spouse is dominated by the other. It may lead to abuse.

• In a family, one child believes the parents favor her siblings. It may lead to an inferiority complex.

Lose-Win is the mentality of people who feel victimized. As a result, they have low esteem and low expectations about themselves. They think: "Why should I work harder when I know they will always keep me down?" or "Have your way with me; I no longer care," and so on.


This is Strategy No. 3. Lose-Lose is the most destructive attitude of all. Hatred and stupidity make it. It is used by people whose life centers are their enemies or when someone becomes obsessed with the other person in a negative way. Such people will go down the drain as long as their enemy goes down with them. Lose-Lose is used in hopeless situations or when anger and revenge blinds reasoning. For instance, Lose-Lose happens when two Win-Lose people get together and say to each other: "If you want to win at any cost, and I want to win at any cost, let's fight it out." And they do, and in most cases, they both end up losing.

Unfortunately, this kind of situation may happen in male-female relationships once based on sincere love and a desire to stay Win-Win. If the couple becomes too emotionally dependent on each other, they begin to feel possessive and jealous. Sooner or later, this emotional dependency brings out the worst in both of them. They begin to fight and "get back" at each other, resulting in a Lose-Lose downward spiral. It is no fun at all.


This is Strategy No. 4. Win-Win is a belief that everyone can win. Win-Win is grounded in an abundance mentality; it is based on the assumption that there is plenty of success to go around. Win-Win is both fair and challenging at the same time. The parties tell each other: "I won't bully you, but I won't be your pushover, either." When thinking Win-Win, you care about other people and want them to succeed. However, you also care about yourself and want to achieve as well.

The marvel of thinking Win-Win is that it always creates more. It opens up the door for unlimited creativity, of fruitful cooperation to the benefit of all parties. Moreover, it not only produces more results, but it also fills your heart with positive feelings. So the relationship becomes highly effective.

Following are some examples of Win-Win thinking:

• You recently got celebrated for a job well done. You graciously accept the praise while recognizing your team members who helped you get there.

• You'd like to go out for dinner, but your spouse wishes to see a movie. Since it's too late to go out to do both, you jointly decide to download a movie and order food to eat at home.

The secret to thinking Win-Win is found in your character. It all begins with you. If you are insecure deep inside and have not paid the price in effort, sweat, and tears to win the Diamond Soul character, it will be impossible to think Win-Win. You'll still feel threatened by other people. It'll be hard to be happy for their successes or to share recognition or praise. Only strong, independent people can think of sharing the Win with others. Personal security, found in a Diamond Soul character, is the foundation of thinking Win-Win.


Buy the DS2 book titled Seven Principles of Super-Effective Leadership on Amazon in printed or electronic format.

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