Habit Four: Think Win-Win

Habit Four: Think Win-Win


Leadership is not defined by the number of people who follows you or who is not underneath your authority but more of the values that you have put and influenced upon them. Habit four speaks of the different approach on interpersonal leadership, building relationship with others.

In order for you to become an effective leader, you must first know how to manage uncertainties of life, knowing that not everything is meant for a win-win situation. There are different paradigms of the so called interaction. These are win-win, win-lose, lose-win, and lose-lose. Although each of it can be happening in real life, as a leader, you must know how to maximize opportunities and minimize clashes as possible.

Win-Win. This situation is mutually beneficial for both parties. Both parties have thought of things, shared opinions on a situation and agreed on whatever decision you will be acting in order to resolve an issue. The great thing about thinking win-win is that you do not conflict with each other and both of you have come out on top. Win-win thinking sees situations in a cooperative instead of competitive manner.

Win-Lose. This situation emphasizes authority and competitiveness. The mindset of ‘I’m always right’ usually comes out of this situation. Although there are some instances where this situation might be needed (let’s say in a debate or in a hearing on the court), it may not be that effective when used in leadership because it makes the losing team feel rejected. The good side is that this situation also empowers a strong will for decision-making, telling others “I know what I am doing”.

Lose-Win. This situation is more of the peace-making side where you have decided to give it to him or her and let her win an argument so that there wouldn’t be any conflicts anymore. The good side is yes, it promotes peace and harmony and you get to see your friend happy, but the bad side is that there will be resentments in the end.

Lose-Lose. Well, for me, this situation is the most unproductive one since it all leads to a clash. Both mindsets are on not letting ‘the other one’ win, and later on results to nothing. This situation emphasizes on the inability to make a decision, since both are actually demanding for their own decision.

There might be instances where we will experience different scenarios, and not all scenarios should always be approached by a Win-Win situation. Every scenario depends on how you’d want to resolve a problem and each of the situations can help interpersonal relationship towards others. For instance, Lose-win situation promotes humility and Win-lose signify decisiveness.

As what Stephen Covey in his book said, a person or organization that approaches conflicts with a win-win attitude possesses three vital character traits:

  1. Integrity: sticking with your true feelings, values, and commitments
  2. Maturity: expressing your ideas and feelings with courage and consideration for the ideas and feelings of others
  3. Abundance Mentality: believing there is plenty for everyone

You need to be decisive in the Win-Win situation. You just don’t need to be nice, or tough. You have to be both. You need to be as understanding as possible, but also as firm as you can be.

To go for win-win, you not only have to be empathic, but you also have to be confident. You not only have to be considerate and sensitive, you also have to be brave. To do that–to achieve that balance between courage and consideration–is the essence of real maturity and is fundamental to win-win.” –  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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