It is common in many corporate environments for there to be competition between individuals or teams. In many cases, if it is healthy competition, it can be useful and lead to everyone being better. Unfortunately, when unhealthy competition occurs, it can lead to one person or team trying to win at another person or team’s expense. This can lead to anger, animosity, and silo’s where working together productively may no longer be possible. You may be winning, but you are not making any progress to the broader goals and outcomes you desire.
Moving from Competing to Completing
The most notable characteristic of peers who complete versus compete is their mindset. People who “complete” have an abundance mindset, while people who “compete” have a scarcity mindset. An abundance mindset is when someone believes there is plenty of room for others; if you win, it doesn’t take anything away from me. A scarcity mindset believes that there is only enough room for me, and if I win, you lose. Teammates with abundance mindsets develop influence through collaboration and adding value to others.
But What About Me?
Several years ago, I found myself on a team that consisted of four strong, capable leaders who each had a history of leading teams of their own. We were all peers, and we all reported to the same boss. We each had a role, but each of us could do the role of the other three. Situations like this can often breed a scarcity mindset, with each person doing whatever they needed to do to self-promote and make themselves look better than the others. But that’s not what happened.
Each of the four of us entered this situation with an abundance mindset. We each respected the skills and ability the others brought to the team, and we each acknowledged the opportunity we had to learn from each other. Here is what we did to make this happen:
– We took time to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses
– We included each other in the planning of the work, leveraging strengths and weaknesses
– We let the best idea win
– We put the organization and the customer ahead of the individuals
– We trusted each other
– We avoided petty arguments and office politics
If you want to increase your level of influence with your peers, you need to take the time to understand who they are and what they bring to the team. Then you can find ways to add value to them and increase the impact of your team. In The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John gives us the Law of Significance, which says that one is too small a number to do anything of significance. You are not going to be successful unless a lot of other people want you to be. If you have little or no influence with your peers, you will have a difficult time delivering significant wins for your team and organization.
Perry Holley is a coach and facilitator with the John Maxwell Company’s Corporate Solutions Group as well as a published author. He has a passion for developing others and seeing people grow into the leaders they were intended to become.