Winning Well - Leadership Without Losing Your Soul

I just completed a wonderful new guide for managers and leaders titled Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results — Without Losing Your Soul by two friends from Lead Change, Karin Hurt and David Dye. Karin and David are accomplished leaders, speakers and authors and were before already accomplished having written the book. They organized their advice into a comprehensive, well-written guide to overcoming sticky issues with practical, relevant, action steps. The issues they address are more common than we’d like to admit, and their stories are personal, and entertaining. For each issue, they provide actionable, professional, informed, and proven methods of creating win-win situations.

As a manager who learned much the hard way, I often felt I was losing my soul. I longed to win. I thought I had to do a number of things just to try and get the job done. My daily grind consisted of a tug-of-war between what I thought would make our team successful and the goals and objectives of the people on my team. Only when I began to create win-win opportunities and outcomes and when I began to work on behalf of my team, did I ever find any peace in leadership.

Winning Well is another term for being an effective leader. We most enjoy those leaders who help us win. We know win-lose isn’t sustainable. Only win-win situations create energy for growth and success. Winning Well means more people win.

Karin and David put forth a number of excellent points in the book including chapters on Building a Team of Loyal Problem Solvers and another on how to balance humor and fun in the workplace (Chapter 18).  Many times they make constructive metaphors that help you remember the point and put it to use.  Each chapter has a summary called the Winning Well Action Plan, which provides clear, actionable steps to help you make progress in each area.

The metaphor I liked the most was very near the end of the book. They talked about, when reacting to any situation, one question we can ask that will help us become constructive, and begin to create winning-well outcomes. The question is “How can I…?”

How can I create a better outcome?
How can I change this situation for the better?
How can I encourage to create a “win” for this team member?

These types of questions arise from a position of personal responsibility. Immediately we find the thing we can do rather than focusing on the dozens or hundreds of things we cannot do. Our mainframe shifts. There is always something we can do to change the outcome or change the way the outcome is processed, received, handled. “How can I…?” turns every victim into a responsible party, someone powerful enough to make a difference. The question turns us from victim to leader. Immediately, we’re back on track to Winning Well!

In the end, although I listened to the unabridged audio book, I went back and purchased the Kindle version so I could make some notes and use the Winning Well Action Plans for reference. The book is packed with energizing ideas and practical advice, making it difficult to recall unless you took great notes in some other medium.

If you’re in management at any level, you will find ideas to help you win well more frequently and with greater ease. And if your management role drains you, sapping your excitement for work, please get a copy quickly. There is energy and life for you in Winning Well. You will transform your career, find new energy for leading and bring life to your work.

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