Central to morale and the starting point in all matters pertaining to competitive encounters are “qualities dominated by the heart.” Heart collectively describes the emotional qualities by which you lead and the means by which you reach individuals. These encompass unity, camaraderie, purpose, duty, and hope, including the principal factors covered in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

In day-to-day organizational life, emotions materialize in conflicting forms. These are expressed in the extremes of order or confusion, commitment or indifference, boldness or fear, loyalty or deceitfulness. They are the realities that typically dominate the heart.

Not only does heart underlie your role as a manager, it also reflects in your outward behavior and ability to perform as an inspiring leader. That is, your demeanor and attitude filter down and impact the performance of staff members who might be low on morale and stripped of courage.

Accordingly, you have to show confidence and display the discipline and grit that will prevent you from caving in at every obstacle. Heart is how you create stability out of confusion, enthusiasm from discouragement, and bravery out of cowardice. These, too, are qualities that dominate the heart.

On the other hand, if you personally lose courage, the winning spirit, and decisiveness to complete the planned efforts, then your ability to lead under stressful situations is at serious risk.

Therefore those skilled in war avoid the enemy when his spirit is keen and attack him when it is sluggish. This is control of the morale factor.

Sun Tzu

Reaching the heart and mind applies equally to competitors. Strategically, your aim is to frustrate the competing manager and “attack him when (his spirit) is sluggish.” If you aggravate and confuse your competitor into making hasty and unwise decisions, you rob him of the heart to plan with the winning spirit and courage appropriate to the demands of an uncompromising marketplace.

As a result, in the hands of an astute manager, this psychological aspect of human behavior becomes an effective strategy tool to unbalance a competitor. Heart, therefore, contains the highly humanistic components that profoundly impact your capacity to manage your people, your competitors, and your ability to implement a business plan.

Tactically, if you move into unfamiliar markets where competitive, economic, and negative consumer influences loom as unexpected barriers, then it is only through the spirited efforts of your people that you can overcome obstacles and push forward. While the inner stirrings of fear and uncertainty can fretfully tug against you, there are also the dominating effects of heart, with all their remarkable qualities, that in the end determines who wins or loses.

In the final analysis, successful performance in a competitive encounter is a matter of morale and reaching the hearts of your people. In all matters that pertain to an organization, it is the human heart that reigns supreme during times of conflict. Careless managers rarely take it into account, resulting in irreversible and unfortunate outcomes.

The appreciation and understanding of moral factors can only be perceived by the inner eye, which differs in each person, and is often different in the same person at different times.


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