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Encouraging Healthy Competition Through Collaboration

How to Set Your Team Up for Success

Drum Cafe collabCompetition and collaboration are two seemingly incompatible terms. Competition implies a clear divide— a winner and a loser, while collaboration requires everyone to work together. As leaders, how can we encourage healthy competition and collaboration in the workplace simultaneously?

Chances are if you have a strong team, you’ll have those few members who are deeply competitive. They exist in all organizations— the go-getters who always strive to be number one. Everything is a competition; taking the stairs, turning in reports, sales. But sometimes that competitive spirit can foster deep wounds among the team. How can you help build a trusting and resilient team who can achieve great results?

The most successful businesses out there are the ones where coworkers truly value and respect one another— and at the same time, they’re each striving to seal the larger, more successful deal. In fact, people cheer one another on in their efforts to win knowing that they’ll have to step up to the plate and deliver an even more impressive effort.

Understanding the personal and professional goals of each individual employee makes a huge difference in supporting these efforts. When competition is encouraged, failure will be inevitable. There will be winners and losers, and the losers need to trust that although they didn’t succeed this time around, there will be another opportunity. Creating an environment where failure is an opportunity to learn in a positive way is critical.

Invest in your team members. Learn about their strengths, weaknesses, and overall aspirations. It’s often helpful to know the personal goals of the individuals as well as their professional goals. This can help you support them in their development as citizens outside of the office, forging the bonds of loyalty to you and the organization. Having this trust between leaders and team members is vital to creating a successful environment.



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