I am not a big supporter of leaders that bang on about the importance of winning the whole time.  Winning, winning, winning: too much talk on winning and you are bound to end up losing.

The important thing about producing a team that is capable of winning is to focus it on the essential skills it needs to perform to its utmost best. Any leader that can demonstrate a sound strategy and motivate people to develop the skills they need to deliver it, will sooner or later end up with a team that produces excellent results.  And if the leader can keep this up day in, day out, they might just end up with a team capable of being classed among the best.

Winning comes as a result of excellence and cannot be achieved by desire and belief alone, especially in business.  Even as a parent or guardian, focusing on winning will only bring misery and disillusionment when it is not achieved, and even when it is, it very quickly become unsatisfying, boring and pointless, especially if it has not been hard won. 

Put pressure on people to win and they will let you down.  Focus people on improving their skills, identifying their weak points and working on them until they are no longer a problem, will bring genuine, long lasting inner pride, self belief and eventual success.

Inspirational leaders know this already, so I was pleasantly surprised to hear Jose Mourinho this weak say in an interview that one of the big problems that England and many top countries football teams had at the world cup this summer was that, the sole focus and pressure to win was way too intense. This applied for both for the individual players and also for the teams as a whole. 

For football to be enjoyable and to have any kind of meaning, it needs a number of more or less equally matched teams.  Its focus needs to be on playing the game itself; mastering it, enjoying it, believing in it. The sooner all leaders appreciate that this applies to all team situations, the better. 

A negotiation with a supplier or customer is not about winning. It’s about achieving a good result for both parties so that each benefits and can come back to the table again and again to continue their fruitful partnership.

So the next time your boss gives one of their ‘winning is everything’ speeches, send them this blog and let’s see what happens. If you are worried about what they might say, send me their names and I will send it to them myself!

Have a good week,