Harness The Competitiveness In Your Team

People can see competition is such black and white terms sometimes. Sometimes, people only see the ugliest possible side of it, the selfish side, the side that can damage the team. However, if you harness it right, a competitive element in the business can bring out the very best in the team is well. It’s all about how you manage it.

Exemplify the behavior that you want to see. We all have our ideas of what makes the ideal kind of behavior in the office. Fostering competition towards those ideals can be done with the use of proper praise, from bonuses to handing out crystal awards at the staff get-together. That kind of recognition is something that your team craves, and if you use them to make examples of the values and working styles that some have, it can provide incentives to the rest so they can move in that direction. It doesn’t even have to be something that exemplifies individual brilliance. You can just as well reward better cooperation and communication efforts.

Show them the future. Just as good as a reward is the chance to really head down the career path that your team wants to head down. People get a lot more engaged in their job and a lot more willing to give it their all if they know that you can just as well help them fulfill their goals. Ask them how you could help them fulfill their dream careers. Offer them training, the opportunity to try new tasks and the chance of handling a bit more responsibility. Show that those who excel have plenty of room for growth under your wing.

Use the diversity of viewpoints. People will have disagreements, but a healthily competitive environment doesn’t let those disagreements evolve into arguments. Instead, you can use them as part of your own strategizing meetings. If your business lacks a diversity of thought, then you are limiting the strategic value of your team, most likely relying on yourself and only a few regular advisors. Some the behavior you should emphasize for more engagement. Whether that means contributing expertise when it’s applicable or even coming up with new topics that the team can solve together. If someone comes up with something that cuts costs, improves return on investment or breaks barriers to business, reward it.

When it gets too far. It is true that there are likely to be those individuals that take things too far and get too competitive. Instead of striving to better themselves, they strive to pull the others around them down. That will actively make your team a lot less productive. When you see signs of unhealthy competition, the passing of the buck or the flat-out refusal of collaboration, don’t let it slide. Privately talk with the offending employee and tell them how that behavior hurts the business. Don’t offer it the rewards you offer more positive competition.

Positive competition is the key to getting a workforce striving to do their very best. It can show you who is truly motivated and help you improve the business even on the strategic level.  Don’t let complacency take over the company.

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