Strengths Insights Part 23: Competition
Welcome to Part 23 of the Strengths Insight Series. Each week we look at a different Strength theme from the Gallup StrengthsFinder® framework. Reading these posts will give you an insight into those you work and live with.
Competition – A strength theme in the Influencing Domain
Competition is rooted in comparison. When you look at the world you are instantly aware of other people’s performance. Their performance is the ultimate yardstick. No matter how hard you try, no matter how worthy your intentions, if you reached your goal but did not outperform your peers, the achievement feels hollow. Like all competitors you need other people. You need to compare. If you can compare, you can compete, and if you can compete you can win. And when you win, there is no feeling, quite like it. You like measurement because it facilitates comparison. You like other competitors because they invigorate you. You like contests because there must be a winner. You particularly like contests where you know you have the inside running, you can see yourself winning. Although you are gracious to fellow competitors and even stoic in defeat, you don’t compete for fun. You compete to win. Over time you will tend to avoid contests where winning seems unlikely.
Competition is the ideal strength for the Producer in the Evolution of an Idea framework. The Producer is about ‘moving boxes’ and a strong competitive culture creates urgency. People are invigorated. Remember though, if someone in the Producer team does does not fit in they will feel very lonely. “There’s nothing worse than being amongst a hustle with nothing to do.”
“The Evolution of an Idea” framework helps leaders and managers to build a team of diverse and complimentary people. If you are interested, Donald would like to explain it to your team. The presentation takes about 40 minutes.
Tips for maximising the value of your Competition Strength.
- Seek work environments in which you can measure your achievemens. You might never be able to discover how good you can be without competing.
- What are you performance measures. List the performance scores that help you understand where you stand every day.
- Identify an achieving person against whom you can measure your own achievement. If there is more than one, list them taking particular note of how you compete with each of them.
- Make time to celebrate. In your world, there is no victory without celebration.
- Seek competitive friends.
- Turn ordinary taks into competitive games. You will achieve more.
- Just like you will reflect and investigate any contests you do lose, apply the same logice to contests you do win. You will receive a great deal more value from understanding why you won, than why you lost.
- Design your own unique strategies for dealing with loss. Armed with these strategies you will be able to complete your reflection and move to the next contest more readily.
- Understand and help colleagues understand that being competitive does not mean putting others down. Explain that you can only be a champion when you are competing with champions. Of course this is harder with people who have less competitive tendency.
Managing people who have Competition in their Top 5 Strengths.
- Use competitive language when speaking to them. It is a win-lose world for this person, so for him, achieving a goal is winning and missing a goal is losing. Words like ‘winning’ ‘out smart’ ‘competitive edge’ and ‘dominate’ are comforting for him.
- Measure him against other people, particularly competitive people. If you are not personally particularly competitive, have him work with someone who is.
- Set up contests. Encourage him to create his own competitive games.
- Make sure he wins an appropriate number of contests. Likewise make sure he is presented with appropriately challenging contests, which sometimes he will not win. This balance of challenge and success will influence the rate of improvement in his performance, and hence his satisfaction.
- Discuss talents and strategy with him. He will be continually working on improving his chances of winning, through strategy, charm and mental games as well as practice.
- Be careful not to allow him to be promoted just because he is a strong performer. More senior roles generally mean a Competition strength has to be oppressed, to allow other people to win.
- When he loses, he may need to mourn for a while. Your empathy will help him complete and get ‘back on the horse’ quicker. If you find empathy for him is hard to find, introduce him to someone who can be empathetic, i.e. a mentor