Teaching Others How to Compete
Almost from the time we are born, we learn that to get what we want and need, we need to compete.
We compete with our siblings for the attention of our parents. We compete with our classmates for grades and teacher recognition. We compete with our teammates for playing time and the opportunity to showcase our talents.
By competing, we learn how good we are, what we need to do to improve, and how to overcome the setbacks and obstacles in the way of our success. Best of all, competition teaches us that it is not always the most talented or skilled performers who are most successful. The willpower to work hard and compete ferociously often equates to more victories.
Leaders who nurture a competitive spirit, both within the team and inside the hearts of team members, foster an attitude of grit and commitment to achievement.
Without going overboard and creating a cutthroat workplace climate, good leaders provide a learning platform for team members to compete against each other and other teams. By making any competition challenging and fun, they infuse the workplace with energy and intensity as they test the skills of the team.
For some colleagues, competition is a way of life and they are good at it. They have created in themselves a competitive edge and act tenaciously when pitted against others.
Other colleagues seem to lack the competitive spirit and will to win. They give up too easily and fail to push themselves when faced with adversity. It appears not everyone can possess the “killer instinct” required to compete and win.
Or can they?
The more people compete at just about anything, the more they learn to enjoy the benefits of competition. Competing frequently creates a competitive mindset that sharpens skills and teaches people how to overcome the performance pressure common to challenges.
Leaders who want to develop this mindset design opportunities for team members to compete at everyday tasks and projects. From who makes the better pot of coffee or lunch dish to who can complete a budget analysis more quickly with accuracy, leaders encourage team members to compete at everything they do.
Good leaders make competitions fun by designing quick challenges where the winners are honored and the losers must engage in a mild sanction. Toasting the winners, dressing in a particular outfit the next day, or serving the winners coffee creates good-natured teasing that elevates team spirit and gets everyone to raise their game.
Competition brings out the best in people. Teaching others to compete is simply a matter of creating more and interesting challenges. When team members learn how to compete and enjoy it, they get better.