It Never Gets Easier, You Just Get Better…
We all like to win. Or at least get what we want. But with the increased impact of technology and globalization, competition has never been greater.
Which often leads to disappointment?
Which usually makes us bitter?
Off course they cheated!
We lost the promotion because the other guy sweet-talked the management. We resent the competition for stealing our clients. We even feel bitter towards people we haven’t even seen – the manager who didn’t like our resume, or the other couple who bought the house we liked.
Yet top performers not only accept the competition, they respect it. Even embrace it. Some even live for it. They realize that as leaders, they are usually judged more not by how the react when things are going well, but when things are going badly.
In my experience, good leaders although fiercely competitive, are usually good sportsmen and sportswomen. They understand that losing is also a part of life.
Here are the reasons why being a good sport is an essential part of leadership in any calling.
1) It creates a great culture
Sore losers are seldom fun to be around, let alone work with. A negative personality repels others, creates resentment and creates a “win-at-all-cost” mentality – ethically or not.
We’ve all worked in companies who will take any opportunity to trash talk the competition. Such organizations usually also take the opportunity to brain wash employees that the “others” are to be avoided at all cost. The dark side!
Yet embracing and respecting the competition improves culture. Firstly, it allows you to improve – by learning the best bits from others. Just like exceptionally performing athletes “pull” the rest of the competition up, the same is true of business. Secondly, being a good sport shows more belief in your own companies’ capabilities – that you are confident you can improve to win next time – rather than being a sore loser and make excuses. And thirdly, creating a good sportsmanship culture encourages workers to be fair and ethical at all times – to win in the right way.
2) It brings perspective
Accepting defeat honestly, brings humility, another essential skill in leadership. In the high stakes and high pressure world of business, those who become stressed over every mistake and defeat will not last long.
Work pressures are already causing record levels of physical and mental disease. Being a good sport and looking at defeat with a lighter frame of mind brings balance and perspective.Take it on the chin, learn, and move on.
Rather than permanently being defensive and stressed, good sports usually have more perspective to the real situation.
3) It enhances reputation
Sportsmanship shows leadership, responsibility, and class.
Everyone likes to work for a winner, but no-one likes a sore loser. It shows weakness. It’s unrealistic. And most importantly of all, it creates isolation.
Modern day greats such as Warren Buffet, Richard Branson and Bill Gates are outstanding examples of leaders who know how to lose with grace. Despite increasing levels of competition and even targeted campaigning (e.g Apple vs Microsoft), you’ll rarely find them trash talking the competition.
Being good sports shows integrity and respect. It enhances your reputation.
4) It fosters collaboration
Ethics And Values Build True Sports in pursuit of victory.
We’ve often heard how today’s competition is tomorrow’s partner. Those who are sore losers alienate the competition. Which means alienating tomorrow’s potential partner. Great leaders understand that respecting all others is an essential ingredient in long term success.
Sportsmanship fosters collaboration further down the line.
Lastly how you win is how you are celebrated. But how you lose is how you are judged!
It is up to the leader to set the stage for great sportsmanship. Don’t foul, don’t flinch-hit the line hard…