Merriam-Webster defines outwit as “to get the better of by superior cleverness.” (“Outwit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/outwit. Accessed 16 Apr. 2021).
In our little series on how the television show Survivor can make us better leaders, outwit is the first tenet of the winning the game.
The winner must definitely be more clever than the other players, and they must also “get the better of” everyone else to win the million dollar prize. As you watch the show, it seems that outwit means lie to everyone, all the time. But there are also players that try to play honestly while still outwitting their opponents.
Does the same hold true for leaders, whether already in a position of leadership or aspiring to be?
I say absolutely.
And some dude called Jesus said the same thing. “Be wise (also interpreted as shrewd) as serpents, and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16 if you want to look it up).
“But Dr. Jeff, aren’t you the one always talking about ethics and morals in leadership? Honesty, integrity and all that? So leaders should ‘get the better of’ everyone else by lying to them?”
Well, no. However, knowing who to trust, learning what information to share with whom at what time, while gathering all the information you can is vital to your ability to lead.
To be a leader, you need to be one step ahead of the competition, both internally and externally.
You have to outwit them.