Leadership: Winning or Succeeding?

Does one “win” at leadership or “succeed” at leadership? Is there a difference? In answering the question, let’s first look at some differences in the two words.

Gary Hedges - Keynote SpeakerWinning is about a single achievement.
Succeeding is about process.

Winning is about an event.
Succeeding is about a life.

Winning is about an end.
Succeeding is about an environment.

Winning is a matter of competition.
Succeeding is about development.

Winning requires overcoming competition.
Succeeding requires cooperation against a challenge.

Winning puts others down.
Succeeding brings others along, building them up.

Winning infers someone has to lose (‘win-win” is an illusion, by the way).
Succeeding infers shared rewards (“win-win” is a euphemism for succeeding).

Winning can occur with two or more people (teams, companies, departments, etc.) on opposite sides of an issue.
Succeeding can only occur when two or more people, etc. stand together dealing with an issue.

Winning and succeeding both bring rewards. The rewards of succeeding are much more significant.

I’m not saying that winning has to be bad…competition demands it. But succeeding is something a life can be built on.

So…back to our original question: when it comes to leadership, is there a difference between winning and succeeding? Let me put it this way.

Succeeding in leadership can result in some “wins”, but winning as a leader is counterproductive. The people you have competed with for the “win” won’t be following you any more.

And John Maxwell says that if you think you’re a leader, but there’s no one there when you look around…you’re just going for a walk.

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