Competition Brings Us Closer

If you have ever been on a corporate away day and participated in a few team sports, you may remember that feeling of camaraderie with your teammates.

If you have ever been on a corporate away day and participated in a few team sports, you may remember that feeling of camaraderie with your teammates. That annoying guy from finance who never pays your invoices on time may have been there, but for a few hours, you were kindred spirits. Bonding with others in a common cause is in our DNA – it's what made Homo Sapiens come out on top. When we are on our own, we tend toward mediocrity, yet when pushed by those around us we reach for the stars.

Personally, I enjoy competing in endurance obstacle races, and although they are more an internal than external battle, you nevertheless feel a deep bond with those going through the same pain. You drag your body through, up and under the most foreboding of obstacles – all in the name of getting to the finish in the fastest possible time. As a goal in itself, that might not seem so meaningful, but thousands of people put themselves through agony to do it. 

In work and life, there are of course more meaningful goals that make more of a difference to others; yet we rarely put as much effort into these as we do on the football pitch, cycle race or morning run. In these circumstances, we push ourselves to the very limit, so why can’t we get ourselves “up” for the other things in our lives?

So here is my question. Is this because when it comes to work and life goals, we find our competitive spirit is slightly lacking?

Let's be honest, when we stand on the start line of a race our adrenaline levels are sky-high and no doubt higher than at the start of a team meeting, but why is this the case? Every meeting is a unique chance to win the hearts and minds of others, yet the goals are more often than not a functional download of information. If you set an ambitious goal (maybe to make everyone in the room smile at least once), it will add more spice to the proceedings.

When you are competing with others alongside you, the drive is even more compelling. If you sit down with your sales colleagues at the start of the month and “own” your sales targets, the successes of others will spur you on to greater heights (rather than send you into a spiral of depression about all your near misses). Competing together is significantly more powerful than competing against each other.

The best leaders can get their teams pulling in the same direction, and provide a friendly push that will help ensure individuals achieve the best they can be. If you work in a vacuum, unaware of what people are achieving around you, you will be satisfied with mediocrity. If you are part of a hard-hitting crack team, you won’t want to let yourself or your colleagues down. Some people might call this pressure, but the emotional strength that comes with this competition is well worth the extra stress.

Competition brings us closer – to ourselves and others.

his article was submitted by Nick Day,  Managing Director  of  JGA Recruitment - the leading Payroll, HR & Reward Recruitment Specialists.

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