September 15, 2016
Since when did ‘compromise’ become such a bad word? In today’s hyper-political, hyper-partisan, ultra-competitive world, some think that we have lost the ability to find common ground and recognize when others succeed. Leadership is often misunderstood as a person’s ability to overpower and always get their way. Compromising, however, is not admitting defeat. Rather, it is acknowledging and building on other’s successes. In a world mildly obsessed with winning (here’s looking at you high school parent), sometimes leaders have to take time to point out and learn from other’s superior attributes.
Now, it is no secret that I tend to view many things through a political lens, but don’t let that scare you away just yet. I will do my best to make my point through many examples. But let’s start with politics. First, I am certain this article will come back to haunt me later in life. Secondly, I don’t care. Let’s take this year’s presidential campaign. You may hate one candidate or the other (or all four – don’t leave out the Green Party or the Libertarian!), but I bet if you really looked at all their positions, you probably would find SOMETHING in common with each one of them.
Politics isn’t your thing? Let’s try sports. Remember in high school when you lost the big game? Well, I bet the other team made some pretty good plays, whether you were willing to admit it at the time or not. How about business? When you lost your last proposal, did you trash the competitor, or did you learn something from them to better your future bids?
One attribute of leadership is the ability to find common ground and acknowledging other’s success. In politics – reach across the aisle and find an issue you can work together on. Sports – congratulate the other team, reflect on their skills and strategies, and apply what you’ve learned to become a better competitor. And business – take notes and up your game the second time around. Life is a game of give and take, and strong leaders know the time and place to do both.