I read yesterday that losing incumbent Congressman Madison Cawthorn is pitching his own little hissy fit plotting revenge on Republicans who spoke out against him. Does that sound familiar? Is he emulating his idol, a more widely known former president? I will leave off the reasons, but simply say the person who needs the most blame looks back from the mirror when he shaves. I have said the same thing about his idol as well.
How one takes losing speaks volumes about the character of the individual. Winning with grace is also important, but losing with dignity matters a great deal. If someone shows their hind end in the losing process, it is indicative of a person who we should be thankful he or she lost. It is also reveals a person with a fragile ego, who feels they are now being viewed as a lesser person.
In consulting or business, your proposal does not always win. Yet, a key lesson that one learns is the person or group that decides not to hire you, may be the same person or group who will decide whether to hire you in the future. If you burn that bridge after the first failure, then you may be kissing future opportunities goodbye. You may have even won the business on earlier proposals, so if you show your tail, the future revenue stream could be zero. And, zero is still zero in any currency.
I had a narcissistic colleague who was very successful. His teams won many assignments. Yet, everyone better watch out if his team lost. Hissy fit is inadequate to define what happens next. As his senior, I would use suggestions to get him to calm down before calling the client encouraging him to be careful with his words.
If that were not enough, when I attended NCAA tournament basketball games with him where his favorite team and alma mater played, I was forewarned to be prepared when things did not go his team’s way. Screaming would be inadequate to define what happened next. Livid would be a better word. What surprised me is he would be this way even with clients present or at his kid’s ballgames. When I went home after the game, I told my wife, “I will never do that again.”
Losing with dignity. I have said variations of the following on the needed occasions. “I want to thank you for the opportunity. We are obviously disappointed not to work with you on this and wish you the very best. If you need any sounding board input, please do not hesitate to call.” This message shares thanks, disappointment, and well wishes. It could be applied to other situations where you did not come out on top.
And, I can also share, on occasion, my team has been brought in after the project started, as the winner failed to live up to the expectations they created. If we had shown our hind end, that follow-up opportunity would not have existed.