Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Is It Healthy To Always Need To Be Right and to Win?



This was the topic of discussion I engaged in early this morning on a scheduled coaching call with my coach.  Yes, as a coach, I have not one but two coaches.

Why two different coaches?  Because they both challenge me go grow in different ways.
Wait, I actually have three coaches.  Two for business and one for adult hockey.  I shouldn't leave out Jim, the coach who has been there helping me to fine-tune my hockey game since the day I started playing for the first time in January nearly 4 years ago.

Is It Healthy To Always Need To Win in Business?

One of my coaches suggests that highly intelligent managers and leaders generally possess a strong desire to win.  I can't argue with that point at all.  He suggests that winning at any cost comes at a high price.  There are times when as a leader, it is not just acceptable but flat out intelligent to let others win.

Winning On The Ice

We discussed this winning topic for quite a while.  

Last night, the puck dropped for one of my adult hockey teams.  This particular team I play on has won more often than not over the past 4 years.  None of us are getting paid to play and we all have to get up the next morning to go to the office.

There is no trophy at the end of our 6 game session but most of my teammates are wired to win. Nobody on the team likes to win or works harder to win than me and my buddy Gary.  I’m just a little bit competitive.  Okay, maybe a lot competitive.  

Last week, I exchanged emails with one of my buddies on a competing team in my adult hockey league.  I made a comment in my email about how competitive Don is when he skates.  Don responded by suggesting that maybe this was a metaphor of the pot calling the kettle black.  I asked Don if my competitiveness bothered him when we line up to skate against each other.  He said "Are you kidding me?  Our games wouldn't be half as fun without you and Gary on the other side challenging us."

Last night after the game, I asked several of my hockey teammates what they thought of my level of competitiveness after scoring two of the goals that led to our 5-2 win.  Nobody in the locker room had any issues with my competitiveness or my buddy Gary's competitiveness. 

Nobody on my hockey team minds that I’m really competitive but if I don’t control my competitive impulses to tone down my competitiveness in the business environment, with friends and at home with my family, my competitiveness is too much for some people.  This is an issue that my coaches have brought to my attention and I can clearly see where they're coming from.

Is It Always Healthy To Win?

No it is not always healthy to win.  If you're in leadership or if you're a manager, exercising impulse control is a skill you need to develop.  My hockey team likes the fact that I'm competitive and that I show up ready to win 100% of the time.  

However, in business, there are numerous scenarios where as a leader, it might not be healthy to win all the time.

What Happens When Others Get To Win?

If you’re a technology or business leader, a really high IQ smart leader, and you’re used to giving your team the answers that you’ve already come to when facing a problem, you just might be too competitive at work.  Calibrating your need to win might be in order.

Even when you have the answer, look for times when you could defer to your team to let others come up with solutions.  Maybe your solution might be slightly superior to the solutions your team comes up with but does it always matter that your best solution is the final solution?

Are there times when recognizing the input from your team and using the opportunity to engage your team members might be more beneficial to your big picture versus you recording another personal win?


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