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March 2, 2010

Management Tactics – No Winners With Win/Lose Or Lose/Win

In every relationship we have, we need to be focused enough to ensure that there is a balance between both sides.

When there is not, that’s when the trouble begins. The workplace is definitely no exception.

The relationships that we make as managers with our people are the invaluable partnerships that enable us to deliver much more than we could alone.

The teams of individuals we bring together synergize to create results that are far more than the sum of the parts. When we manager others, it’s our role to do this.

The relationships we form to drive a successful team cannot be at group level. For the people in the team this is not enough. They need us to be prepared to engage in personal relationships with them, one-to-one, from time to time.

Whilst we can impact on the team as a whole for the decisions that we make and even impose on them, the effects are never at team level, they are always felt inside, by each and every one of those involved.

So, we have to make effective relationships with each person we manage and, there’s more, we have to ensure that the outcomes meet the needs on both side of that one-on-one partnership too.

If we seem to succeed and they feel let down (the win-lose), they will be less committed, because their needs are not being met. If this goes on for a time, they will feel used and that you are insincere in your words that encourage a close relationship. Trust starts to dissipate and the relationship will break down.

On the other hand, where you meet the needs of the person sitting opposite you and fail to achieve the goals you need to succeed, (the lose-win), the balance tips the other way and the relationship founders because you are not achieving the results that you are measured on.

With win-win, both sides get their very personally driven needs and goals met. The business thrives from successful results achieved and the individuals thrive as well, because their needs are understood and activities aligning them with the business requirements becomes much more effectively delivered too.

Indeed, if the only way you can work is where one side loses, it’s probably best that each side agrees that it isn’t working out and both sides walk away. Truly win-lose and lose-win are, in effect a win for neither side at all, because of the deeper consequences that will affect all.

Manager ‘Wins’

Let’s say a manager gives way a lot on meeting the needs of their team members. He is lax on discipline because the employees want ‘freedom to express themselves’ and gives it away.

This might result, if allowed to impact on deadlines for example, that sales quotas aren’t achieved. The manager could lose their job and individuals get a much worse deal from their new manager.

A classic example of Lose/Win, except in the bigger picture, it isn’t.

Employee ‘Wins’

The alternate view, might be where a manager rarely spends one-on-one time with his people, citing that his schedule is far too tight with the results he has to achieve.

Employees become less committed and the better ones find a new job with a manager much better suited to understanding their own, very individual, needs.

The first manager finds he struggles to achieve the results that the business needs and is challenged on his own performance (and has much less effective staff left behind to help recover).

A great example of a Win/Lose, but it isn’t even that at all.

The challenge for managers and employees is to acknowledge that the other side has to win as well, because a side that is losing is much more likely to have a significantly bigger impact all round.

Filed under Blog by Martin

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