Effective Leaders Try to Avoid “Wimp Wins”

compromise-16“I know this project is important,” admitted Jason, “but I’d like to schedule a week of vacation next month.”

“Jason,” the manager replied, “your contributions are critical to the project’s mission.  There is no way we can meet the deadline if you are gone.”

“I know,” said Jason.  “Five of my close college friends had a gathering planned for November, but a friend called yesterday and said they were rescheduling it for September.  Many of us haven’t seen each other in years.”

After further discussions, the manager and Jason agreed to a compromise.  The manager would approve three days of vacation and explain to the stakeholders that the project would need a little more time and budget.  Jason agreed to work the weekend prior to leaving for vacation and get as much done as he could.

This compromise is a “wimp win.”  Both Jason and the manager can live with the outcome, but both are troubled with the agreement.  For the manager, the project is late and Jason misses part of the reunion.

Before agreeing to compromises, strong leaders exhaust all options for all parties.  Perhaps they can move the reunion to October.  Maybe Jason can put in more time prior to going and be available via technology during the reunion.

Be wary of wimp wins.  Unfortunately, a pattern of compromises increases the likelihood of a growing bitterness among the parties.