I wrote my new book, She Leads: A Practical Guide for Raising Girls Who Advocate, Influence, and Lead  in part because I noted that many adult leaders don’t have a clue about a win-win mindset. The fol­lowing quote from Martin Luther King describes the lack of this skill: “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” I would add that people are stuck in a competitive mindset and lack a win-win mentality. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley spoke to my point during the contentious 2016 election. 

 Gov. Haley gave a televised response to Pres­ident Trump’s State of the Union Address in January 2016. She urged her fellow Republicans to resist the siren call of the angriest, most divisive voices. “Some people think you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference. That’s just not true. Often, the best thing we can do is turn down the volume. When the sound is quieter, you can actually hear what someone else is saying. And that can make a world of difference.”

Stephen Covey defines  win-win mentality as mutual respect and mutual benefit. At least one person in the conflict needs to be willing to champion their adversary’s interests as much as their own. Strong, mature leaders speak with courage and listen with empathy. They have the guts to advocate their position, but they care just as much about others getting their needs met as their own. One person must be willing to stay with the win-win mindset until other people trust them, at which point they are more receptive to thinking collabora­tively as well. This requires a high level of inner security and strength. What becomes more important than the actual solu­tion is the quality of the relationship.

Sibling rivalry offers opportunities to practice this skill at home. Teach kids to mirror the other person’s concerns and needs, then share their own side, and finally work out an agreement that works for both sides. Parents can initially function as an unbiased mediator who guides siblings to reach a win-win solution, but to quickly work themselves out of that job as kids acquire this skill. Practicing perspective-taking, i.e. imagining how someone else thinks or feels, promotes cognitive problem-solving and the development of empathy. 

Girls will carry this win-win mentality and the ability to resolve conflicts peacefully and directly to their friends and beyond. The world needs leaders who are compassionate, collaborative, and understanding. Developing the skill of a win-win mentality is one way your daughter will develop into a strong and empathetic leader.

Coming soon! Dr. Jordan’s new book: She Leads: A Practical Guide for Raising Girls Who Advocate, Influence, and Lead, arrives in mid-march

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