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Competition

Encouraging Friendly Competition in Business 150 150 admin

Encouraging Friendly Competition in Business

Competition in the workplace can boost enthusiasm, help your employees understand your company’s goals, and encourage everyone to give their work their best effort. Friendly challenges lead to professional growth. Encouraging competition while still supporting teamwork can be a balance that is difficult to achieve, but the following recommendations will help you and your employees take advantage of a competitive spirit.

Be Clear About Your Goals

Make sure everyone is on the same page about the goals that you want to achieve, whether it be an increase in sales or completing tasks more quickly. If no one understands what they’re supposed to be doing, nothing can be achieved.  When your workers reach those set goals, make sure to reward them and acknowledge their efforts. Encourage times for them to share what they’ve learned and their techniques with other employees.

Remind Your Employees That It’s Just a Game

Start by setting the tone for the competition. Make sure everyone knows the your competition is all in good fun. Make it clear that all employees are valued, regardless of whether they win or lose. Contests don’t always have to be serious. You can also incorporate a spirit of playfulness, even if it’s as informal as an obstacle course or a trivia day.

Encourage Calculated Risks

Don’t let your employees get so caught up in the competition that they’re afraid to take risks. Remind them of the value in calculated risks. Don’t disparage people for their mistakes, but instead encourage them to view mistakes as a method of learning. Explain to everyone that they should use the competition as an opportunity for professional development. Discuss how even if some employees don’t succeed, they can still learn from their competitors.

Create Teams

Most employees thrive with a combination of competition and being part of a supportive team. Teamwork encourages employees to cooperate and effectively complete tasks. Teams also even the playing field. Organize your teams so that everyone has a chance. For example, don’t place all the new employees on one team, or have your highest performers on a single team. This way no one feels left out or too far behind in the competition to bother participating.

Competition in the workplace, while helpful, can also be difficult to achieve. Having clear goals and making sure no one loses sight of the goals for the sake of competition is a crucial part of your company’s success.

Originally published on fredsines.co.uk

The Important Difference Between Positive and Negative Competition 150 150 admin

The Important Difference Between Positive and Negative Competition

As a former professional athlete, and as someone who worked in sales and has quite a strong competitive spirit, I know a few things about competition. I’ve also studied it and seen it play out in both healthy and unhealthy ways within teams and companies for many years. Competition is part of life, and especially of business. It can be harnessed in a productive way for teams, but it can also be incredibly damaging and detrimental to the culture of a team or company. So, it’s important to understand that there are two types of competition: negative and positive.

Negative competition is when we compete with others in such a way that we want to win at the expense of the other person or people involved. In other words, our success is predicated on their failure. Negative competition is a zero-sum game, and is based on the adolescent notion that if we win we’re “good” and if we lose we’re “bad.” It’s all about being better than or feeling inferior to others — based on outcomes or accomplishments. In a team setting, negative internal competition shuts down trust and psychological safety, and negatively impacts the culture. It usually takes one of three forms:

  • One person competing against another person on the team
  • One person competing against the entire team
  • One team competing against another team within the organization

Positive competition is when we compete with others in a way that brings out the best in us and everyone involved. It’s about challenging ourselves, pushing those around us, and allowing our commitment and skill, and the motivation of others, to bring the best out of us and tap into our potential. When we compete in a positive way, it benefits us and anyone else involved. Of course, we may “win” or we may “lose” the competition we’re engaged in, and there are times when the outcome has a significant impact and is important. But when we compete in this positive way, we aren’t rooting for others to fail or obsessed with winning at all costs, and we realize that we aren’t “good” or “bad” and that our value as human beings isn’t determined by the result. Positive competition is about growth, grit, and taking ourselves and our team to the next level.

A very simple example of this comes from exercise. Working out with another person is a positive, practical strategy for getting in shape, because having a workout partner creates accountability, support, and motivation. Let’s say you and I decided to work out together on a regular basis, and we picked a few different activities such as running, biking, and tennis that we’d do a few times a week. And let’s imagine we decided to add a little competition to make it more interesting. If we competed against each other in a negative way, I would be obsessed with figuring out how to run faster, bike farther, and beat you at tennis. And if I got really into it, I might find myself feeling stressed before we worked out, and after we got done I’d be either happy or upset depending on how I did in comparison to you on a particular day. I might even find myself taunting you if I “won,” or feeling defensive, jealous, or angry if I “lost.”

However, if we went about these same activities in a positively competitive way, we could still compete to win in tennis or race each other in running or biking. We wouldn’t waste our time and energy attaching too much meaning to the outcome, but instead would realize that by pushing one another past our perceived limitations we would both get a better workout, helping each of us to be as healthy and fit as possible.

In a team environment, it’s important to pay attention to competition. We all have the capacity for both negative and positive competition. The more aware we are of our own and others’ competitive tendencies, the more easily we can talk about and pay attention to them when they manifest themselves. Championship teams embrace competition, and harness its positive power to fuel individual and collective growth and success. And creating a culture of positive competition can bring out the best in us and everyone on the team.

Are you competing in a positive or a negative way? What can you do to create an environment of positive competition around you? Post your answer below in the comments, or directly on this blog post on my website.

This post is excerpted from Bring Your Whole Self to Work, by Mike Robbins, with permission. Published by Hay House (May 2018) and available online or in bookstores.