The Win-Win Habit of Leadership

Topic: Leadership
Words: 1747 Pages: 7


The win-win habit of leadership is a state of mind and heart that enables an individual to continually pursue or strive for mutual benefit out of every human relation or interaction. It is a code-based character for human collaboration and interaction. In this behavior, an individual mutually benefits from relationships and agreements that are mutually satisfying. In the win-win habit of leadership, all parties involved feel good concerning the agreement and tend to feel committed towards the actual plan. Win-win takes the approach of cooperating instead of a competitive approach. However, win-win has its negative side as it is formed on the base of position and power instead of principle. This approach is based on the paradigm that the success of an individual is not attained over the exclusion of others since there is much for every individual. Leaders should use this approach to create win-win relationships within an organization because it is most effective.

The Six Paradigms

There are six paradigms involved in an attempt to collaborate or effectively interact with other individuals. These six paradigms were proposed by Covey of how leaders can create a win-win situation in a work setting (Covey, 2017). Naturally, every individual is inclined to lean towards one of these paradigms. As a result, people are inclined to perceive the world with this mindset which guides us on how to effect collaboration and teamwork. The proposed paradigms include win/lose, lose/ win, win/win, lose/lose, win and win-win or no deal paradigms.

Win / Win – We All Win Paradigm

The win/win paradigm is also known as the we all win paradigm. For a leader develop a paradigm, it is necessary for the individual to have a paradigm. Therefore, this means that there is no situation of a loser since every single individual is always learning or winning. In this case, every person commits to come to an agreement where every individual does not have feelings of having lost. According to Covey, an individual can succeed by utilizing win-win agreements on most reality occasions. This is because, with powerful solutions, great understanding and deep relations are mostly born from coming to agreements that all the parties involved will be comfortable with and benefit from them. The win/win approach enables individuals or leaders to consider the other involved party, ensuring that all the parties involved always succeed (Covey, 2017). As a result, individuals tend to see from other people’s point of view to experience what the other party is experiencing in an attempt to understand their challenges and needs or wants. Following this view, individuals understand better the solutions that all the parties involved will potentially accept.

The Win / Lose Paradigm

The win/lose paradigm is generally based or built on competition rather than cooperation or collaboration. In this paradigm, one other party has to lose for the other one to win or succeed (Spohn, 2018). The leaders that utilize the win/lose paradigm employ the authoritarian leadership style and are mostly expected to abuse their authority, power, personality or status to achieve their goals and succeed. The flaw of this paradigm is that when it comes to life, a majority of individuals employ the win/lose paradigm. A good example is malicious compliance, where a leader utilizes his gained power and authority of their role to harm other employees while staying within the organizational rules and regulations. For instance, a section supervisor or manager uses their power to diminish other employees with lower status and authority without crossing or forgetting the company rules.

With this approach, the long term consequence is that an individual builds long-term resentment towards the other party. As a result, the other party will tend to lose confidence in the individual inclined to this approach since they are aware that the individual will eventually compete for status and authority. Moreover, this consequence is able to see the lose-win paradigm the same way it perceives the win-lose paradigm (Spohn, 2018). Both parties will start to see the competing party’s view and create win-win solutions when they start viewing win-lose and lose-win in the same way.

The Lose / Win Paradigm

In the lose-win paradigm, most individuals prefer to take the resistance in the negotiation path instead of taking the opportunity to make a stand. The individuals inclined to this approach are soft or lenient by nature and are always comfortable conceding to appease the other involved party. These individuals always seek the means to please or give at their own expense (Spohn, 2018). Some individuals that employ this approach are more likely to lose their self-esteem as well as in their interactions. This is because they opt to suppress their feeling to please or appease the other party. This often makes these individuals feel overpowered or defeated by other individuals.

The Lose / Lose Paradigm

The lose/lose paradigm can result from the win-lose paradigm where both parties clash and do not withdraw. This is an approach where one party is very willing to lose to make sure that the other party fails as well. This can be because they are vindictive and believe that they must succeed in the process if the other party is losing (Covey, 2017). A good example of lose/ lose situation is one with an internal resource war. This can happen when two departments have their assigned projects. Unfortunately, the pool of resources available is only one. For one of the departments to get their project prioritized, their leader decided to exaggerate the business value. As a result, the business loses the opportunity with the losing department, and the winning department loses confidence since the team members involved in the project are aware that their leader decided to exaggerate for their benefit.

Win Paradigm

In the win paradigm, individuals are more concerned about themselves and ensuring that they succeed. As a result, the leaders do not consider the result since they are more concerned about winning and are not focused on the loss of the other party. This paradigm is based on the view that every person looks out for himself despite which party loses or wins since the other party is expected to consider what to do on their end to win hence can take care of themselves (Covey, 2017). For instance, every supervisor under the same department is tasked with their responsibilities, and maybe one will be rewarded at the end of their contract depending on their work performance. They all make an effort to get work done on their end without being concerned with the other party’s activities. In this situation, imbalance in life, distrust and resentment may arise if one party succeeds and the other loses, similar to the win-lose paradigm.

Win-Win or No Deal Paradigm

The win-win paradigm ensures that both parties that are involved benefit. This paradigm enables leaders to establish rapport and develop a deep relationship. As a result, the majority of individuals often strive to employ this approach. It is imperative that all the parties give their perception on an issue or project without being threatened. Leaders can always appreciate the employees’ inputs towards solving a problem (Spohn, 2018). When working together, one party can generate an original idea as a result which none of the parties could have accomplished on their own. As much as it can be challenging to gain a win-win agreement, it is not entirely impossible. This approach enables individuals to acquire a solution to a challenging situation that will profit both parties. In this case, the goals of one party can be aligned with the other party’s goals. As a result, relationships can be maintained while honoring values if the situation does not end in a no-deal.

Elements of the Win-Win Habit of Leadership

The win-win habit of leadership consists of three very important elements. The first element of the win-win habit of leadership is relationships. A leader is able to build excellent trusting relations that can become beneficial for future work. A leader can implement relationships by being an active and empathetic listener. This can be done by maintaining personal integrity, fulfilling commitments, clarifying expectations and admitting to committing a mistake. The second element is agreements which is only possible if an individual is able to create a good rapport and trust with other parties. Agreements specify how parties will work together and the expected outcomes (Covey, 2017). Win-win agreements can be implemented by listing the needed resources such as labor, time, technical skill and cost. Agreements can be implemented by explaining how to get results, determining and agreeing on the expected results, creating responsibility and explaining the consequences of failure.

The last element is character, which is essential to gaining a win-win relationship. Win-win necessitates an individual to be tough and friendly because it is considered a balance between consideration and courage. The key traits required in this habit include maturity, integrity, and an abundance mentality. Maturity in an individual entails communicating feelings and ideas with courage while considering the feeling and ideas of the other party. Courage enables a leader to pursue what is required to fit personal values and goals without putting relationships in jeopardy. Integrity involves individuals adhering to their actual commitments, feelings and values (Spohn, 2018). A leader cannot succeed if they do not understand what succeeding is. The best way to understand success is by knowing oneself by knowing personal values and principles. A leader will be able to acquire integrity in addition to building their character. Lastly, in an abundance mentality, individuals will tend to believe that there is enough for everybody. Abundance mentality is considered a mental state that allows individuals to believe that there is enough happiness, resources and opportunities for every individual. The leader can only perceive the potential of both parties winning without one party losing at the expense of the other.


In conclusion, leaders have the role of ensuring that there is always a good relationship among employees. The best way to ensure quality relationships within an organization is to use the win-win approach. The win-win approach enables the individual to benefit from every human relationship. It has six paradigms that guide in creating win-win relationships in an organization. The six paradigms include win/lose, lose/ win, win/win, lose/lose, win and win-win or no deal paradigms. In addition, the win-win habit of leadership consists of three elements that include character, relationships and agreements. All these elements and paradigms guide an effective leader on how to create win-win relationships in an organization.


Covey, S. (2017). The 7 habits of highly effective people. Infographics.

Spohn, D. (2018). An operational definition of effective leadership: Was Covey right?. Review of Public Administration and Management, 06(01), 2-6. Web.

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