Leaders: How to Fight to Win in the New Year (Part 1)

Fight to Win

Life itself is a fight at virtually every turn.

To Win in Sports…

The athlete must fight against the limitations of the body and the efforts of the competition.

To Win the New Job…

The candidate must fight for the interview and for the offer.

To Win at Home…

The spouse or parent must fight against the natural human traits of selfishness and pride.

To win at a simple Game of Chess or Bridge or Golf…

The player must fight with tenacious concentration.

Everyday is a Fight on Some Level

Nothing worthwhile in life comes easily. Some days you will feel good, and some days you won’t. But regardless of feelings and circumstances, you must make up your mind to persevere.

If you want to be victorious, you must decide in advance to fight to win.

That’s what the senior leaders in the POW camps did. They went first, and they set the bar very high. The battles in your organization are probably less intense than those that took place in the POW camps, but they can be daunting nevertheless.

Battling in Business

If you’re a business leader, for example, you must constantly fight to increase revenues, develop new products, attract new employees, complete projects on time, promote teamwork, ensure quality, confront employees who are under-performing, and achieve a host of other important goals.

In fact, you must  fight for the survival of your organization every day.

What’s more, you must continually fight to uphold your personal and professional commitments and values, in spite of fears, doubts, and temptations to compromise. That requires the same kind of tenacity POW leaders exhibited.

Learning to Fight to Win

As a kid, we used to play pickup games of basketball and touch football. The two best players would take turns choosing the players they wanted on their team. The smart leaders didn’t always select the players with the most natural talent.

They picked the ones who had the greatest desire to win, who had what we call “fire in their belly.”

So it is with life. Talent, education, charisma, and good looks will only get you so far. To win in life, you must want to win and you must fight to win.

Find Your Drive for Success

In the business context, highly motivated people are said to have “drive,” or perhaps a “pioneering spirit.”

They are willing and eager to:

  • Step out into uncharted territories
  • Launch new initiatives
  • Take on the most challenging tasks
  • Pursue lofty goals

Leaders with drive inspire, push, persuade, direct, and challenge others to take the actions that are required to attain the goals that are desired.

Driven to Win

Leaders who are driven to win in every undertaking typically manifest the positive personality traits like:

  • Assertiveness
  • Initiative
  • Desire for achievement
  • Persistence
  • Ambition

These are good qualities!

“Talent, education, charisma, and good looks will only get you so far. To win in life, you must want to win and you must fight to win.”

Tempered Enthusiasm

Leaders with strong drive get things done. But as in other areas of life, too much of a good thing can be counterproductive. When all of these traits are in play without an awareness and concern for the capabilities and needs of others, watch out!

A “driven” leader who is inordinately focused on results can push others into “burnout” rather quickly.

This sort of short term “win-at-all-cost” mentality is not healthy for the organization or for the individuals involved.

…Just ask Lance Armstrong.

The next article on this topic will talk about people who still fight to win but may have a more limited set of goals; it will also cover the importance of getting win-win outcomes in competitive situations. In the meantime, what are you fighting to win in the new year, either personally of professionally? Is it worth the effort, and what inspires you to press forward with enthusiasm? Share your thoughts and wisdom in this forum.


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Lee Ellis
Lee Ellis is Founder & President of Leadership Freedom LLC & FreedomStar Media.
He is a leadership consultant & expert in teambuilding, executive development & assessments
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Blog | Book

His latest book is called Leading with Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton.

Image Sources: pfiesterpfit.files.wordpress.com

2 responses to “Leaders: How to Fight to Win in the New Year (Part 1)

  1. Lee, your post includes much needed encouragement for the 21st Century Leader. Thank you! As I read, my thoughts also went to the messages in David Whyte’s book, “The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship.
    From David; “Work, like marriage, is a place full of powerful undercurrents, a place to find our selves, bu also, a place to drown, losing all sense of our own voice, our own contribution and conversation.”
    Once again, great work on this encouragement of the individual’s core … as they lead to win!


    • Jeff – thanks for sharing the quote. Powerful words full of truth. Very glad that this latest article was encouraging for you as you continue to lead to win. (WP Admin)


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