Zimbabwe forum: Romance & Friendship - Knowing the difference between players and pretenders
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3 Aug 2015 13:54

Knowing the difference between players and

If you’ve ever led people, you’ve come across followers who would rather
act the part than do their part. Those people are pretenders, and while they can sometimes masquerade
as players, there are ways to tell the two apart. It’s important to find all the
pretenders within an
organization, because
otherwise, they will steal momentum and damage relationships.

Here is my guiding principle:

Pretenders look the part, talk the part, and claim the part, but fall short of fulfilling the part.

Here are some other specific differences:

1. Players have a servant’s mindset; pretenders have a
selfish mindset.
Players do things for the benefit of others and the organization, while pretenders think only of benefitting themselves. A
pretender is narrowly
focused only on outcomes that are in his or her best

2. Players are mission-
conscious; pretenders are position-conscious.
Players will give up a
position to achieve a mission.
Pretenders will give up a mission to achieve a position. For players, the progress of
the mission is much more important than their own
place within it. But a
pretender will value his or her position more highly than just about anything else.

3. Players can deliver the goods; pretenders only promise the goods.
A player is a team member who can be counted on to
finish a task every time. The
pretender will claim the ability to do so; but in the end, he
or she does not consistently execute.

4. Players are job-happy:
they love what they do and do it well. Pretenders are
job-hunters: they can’t do what they do where they are but think they could do it
better somewhere else.
For a player, the work is
fulfilling and meaningful, and
he or she is devoted to
doing it well. The pretender
is so focused on appearing
competent that he or she
cannot always BE competent.
And again because of the
focus on appearance, the
pretender won’t admit fault
when mistakes are made.
Thus, he or she believes
that problems are a part of
the workplace, not him- or

5. Players love to see others
succeed; pretenders are
only interested in their own success.

“The purpose of life is
not to win. The purpose of
life is to grow and to share.
When you come to look back
on all that you have done in
life, you will get more
satisfaction from the
pleasure you have brought
into other people’s lives
than you will from the times
that you outdid and defeated

I think we all start out as
competitors, but the goal is
to grow past that. In my adult
life, I have evolved from
competitor, to personal
achiever, to team player,
and on to team builder. A player is happy when
another member of the team succeeds because it benefits
all. The pretender sees
success as a win-lose
proposition, and resents it
when another person “wins.”

6. Players value integrity;
pretenders value image.
In navigation, the rule is that
what’s under the surface
should be heavier than
what’s above the surface.
Otherwise, ship will capsize
in a storm. Integrity is like
this; what’s under the
surface had better be
greater than that which is in
plain sight. A player can be
counted on to do the right
thing, even if nobody is
looking. Pretenders may only
do the right thing when
others are looking, and
whatever is expedient when
others are not.

7. Players make the hard
choices; pretenders make
the easy choices.
We all have the power of
choice, but once used, our
choice has power over us.
What is a hard choice? With
a hard choice, the price is
paid on the front end; the
payoff only comes later. Few
people gather to affirm the
hard choice, and it almost
always includes risk. And the
hard choice usually places
others and the organization
above self. Peter Drucker
once said, “Whenever you
see a successful business,
someone once made a
courageous decision.”
Players aren’t afraid to make
those decisions.

8. Players finish well;
pretenders fade out.
Some people start as
players, but at some point
they turn into pretenders.
Why? I believe it’s because
they overestimate the event
and underestimate the
process. They make the
choice to begin, but they get
tired of the work it takes to
continue. Or they begin and
proceed until they are
confronted with the need to
change. Unwilling to do that,
they begin pretending in
order to get by. A player
takes all tasks to completion.
Do you have a better idea of
who the players and
pretenders are within your
team or organization?
Remember that players will
always ADD to the team’s
efforts. But pretenders, at
least in the long run, will
COST the team. Knowing the
difference between the two
means that you’ll count on
the right person to get the
job done.

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14 Aug 2015 06:59
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