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Victim vs Player

Updated: Feb 20, 2020

I will be hosting a Leadership Boardroom Breakfast in Sydney on 27 February, 2020. An intimate boardroom setting of 14 will provide a conversational environment to discuss all things leadership, resilience, people management, and the simple keys of high-performance systems in any workplace. Limited seats left.

Contact or RSVP to by 20 Feb to secure your seat.

Victim vs Player

In today’s society, the victim is encouraged and the player must find their own feet. Take a school athletics carnival for example. Everybody gets a ribbon and is given the impression that they have won. We all know, even the kids, that this isn’t the case but it makes everyone feel good at the time. When these kids progress into adult sport the landscape is completely different. Along the way a lot of important character-building opportunities are presented. Some of these arise from positive experiences; however, most of them come from learning how to deal with adversity or hardship when things don’t go to plan. This happens to all of us on our individual journey through our careers and life in general. Its in these times that we have a choice. Do we become victims of a situation or are we players? The mentality of the victim is to accept little or no responsibility for the position they find themselves in. The player accepts total responsibility. The victim feels powerless and struggles to move forward through feelings of fear and resentment while the player remains confident and optimistic about the future – they are in total control.

Some years ago, there was a player in a team I was coaching who was a high achiever but had a strong victim mentality. “I only play this position, defend this way, I did my job, etc”. He was that much of a victim that he had pigeonholed himself and had lost control of his career. We worked together on breaking down his mindset and eventually turned him into a “player”. He excelled, beyond all expectations, and his career – in a different position – reached heights that would have been unachievable if he remained a victim.

Unfortunately, it is usually those closest to us who encourage us to be a victim. This makes it incredibly hard sometimes to understand the best way to deal with adversity when it arises. Our family and friends through their love for us can encourage us to be a victim - it’s not your fault, your boss is the problem, the coach isn’t helping you! We all need a little love and support during tough times, but it is important to take ownership and stay in control.

In sport and business this starts with the leaders. As a coach, if I blame a loss on the match officials or the weather, the team become a victim to my mentality, and it makes it harder for everyone to move forward. Canberra Raiders Coach Ricky Stuart handled the controversial call in this year’s NRL grand final beautifully. He gave it no airtime at all after the match and in doing so put his team in powerful position going into next season. It’s the same in business. Take responsibility for everything that happens and encourage your people to do the same. Victims need sympathy and reassurance to feel safe. It’s like a drug, it makes them feel good but it’s bad for them. It’s important you care for them and help them become players. Every time you convert one of your people from a victim to a player you enable them and your team to transcend.

Sometimes as a leader it is much easier being a victim, but it is far more rewarding and peaceful as a player.

- Anthony

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