Why Teams Need Competition in the Workplace
From cavemen to businessmen – discover why collaborators want to come out on top, and how team building can appeal to our need to compete.
Competition and Collaboration – A Hardwired Human Trait?
Is your CEO a fierce competitor who can also work exceptionally well in a group setting? Considering that that person is the leader of your company, your answer is most likely, “Yes.” How else would they have reached the level of success they currently have?
As it turns out, the combined desire to succeed competitively and collaboratively may be a hardwired trait from centuries ago. According to research from the University of Michigan, competition is a natural human instinct meant to help us be accepted. We are driven to compete and prove our value in order to be allowed to collaborate, just as cavemen were within their tribes.
With both collaborative and competitive components, it could be said that team building appeals to our basic instincts. Group activities can be a great outlet for your team to exercise their competitive spirit in a collaborative workplace setting.
Striking the Perfect Balance for Your Team
By focusing on friendly competition, your team can tap into that hardwired desire to prove their worth, be accepted, and collaborate – without feeling too stressed about their performance. For example:
Shared workspaces: Activities where participants are all in the same space, such as a bike building challenge, offer teams the opportunity see other teams as they progress, motivating them to work with their teams to try to make the best product possible.
Tracking success: Team building activities that include live leaderboards, such as budget team building activities, can help provide a friendly competitive spirit as teams work together to gather points and be top of the leaderboard.
Not interested in competing with each other? Competition doesn’t always have to be in the form of other people. Creative ways to incorporate competition into collaborative activities, include:
- Time limits: Team building activities that revolve around the amount of time you have to complete the activity, such as solving a mystery, have groups competing against the clock, rather than each other.
- Thinking outside the box: Activities that require more creative thinking, such as building a Rube Goldberg machine, offer teams the opportunity to challenge their creativity and compete with the perceived limitations of their task.
Interested in offering your team the opportunity to compete in a collaborative and positive way at work? Learn more about our team building activities.