We’ve all heard it before…”Nice Guys Finish Last.”

I’m not sure that this is true. Perhaps nice guys do not finish last, but regardless winning is everything.

In my lifetime I have met incredibly nice leaders, humble leaders, selfless leaders, and many other apparently altruistic types that front organizations. However, in my interactions I have yet to meet a single one that didn’t play the game (whatever that may be) to win.

You see, there is a great manipulation going on here. At least in America. In our classrooms they don’t allow teachers to use red pens anymore. On our youth athletic fields they reprimand playing to win. In some leagues going so far as not keeping score.

The system remains like this until our children hit ten, eleven, twelve years old. And then all of the sudden like a ton of bricks competition is introduced. Ironically, just like the world “out there,” some embrace it, some relish in it, and some are buried by it.

When you are the one that benefits from winning you love it. You may become obsessed with the highs from winning and your competitive drive can overwhelm your very being.

When losing becomes the “norm” you implore competition, you seek equality and long for the “No Red Pen” philosophy.

In reality, no one wants to be in the presence of the braggadocios. Having said that, no one want to be surrounded by losers either. Regardless, most people want to be successful, and those that are most successful are deeply motivated by winning.

The old adage comes to mind. “You will never fly with the eagles if you are hanging with the turkeys.”

My Suggestions for a good “Win First” attitude…

  • When you wake up in the morning the first thing that you must realize is that the world is keeping score. This is not to say you should operate based on how others view success, this just means don’t be so naive as to think otherwise. As a leader, this also means your followers are keeping score and they want to follow a winner!

  • If you are meeting and exceeding your goals, stay the course, but do so with eyes wide open because change is inevitable.

  • You likely will not win every time, however you must leverage failure to learn. These lessons should get you back on track to your winning ways.

  • Be a humble and gracious winner. You recognize that winning is everything, but when you get to the “End Zone” act like you’ve been there before.

  • Win your way! If you have a vision of success then share it and earn the respect of your team. At that point you can lead toward victory that will be sweet for everyone involved and not just yourself. Also know that the majority doesn’t win, and there will be those that try and keep you down. You must fight for your wins. Continued success will rarely if ever come easy.

Our leadership is measured by many things. This includes what we know, how we inspire, and how we empathize. These intangibles are nice to have however I must ask…

If the result isn’t victory, then how much do these things matter?

What is victory to you? Perhaps a more important question…Do you play to win?