Fancy a game?

For employees of many small and medium companies, Ping Pong is a great form of release. A healthy way of brainstorming ideas and fun way of getting to know the people you work or share workspace with.

Trying to get that edge over your opponent is a mindset many high achieving professions want to cultivate. It drives people on to be better. The trick is to keep that spirit from spilling over into anything more!

Often though you hear “I beat my boss today” or another named individual … and before you know it, it can all become a little competitive. For some individuals and teams this can sometimes become a barrier. It’s hard to collaborate if you view your colleague as the competition (across the Ping Pong table or otherwise)!

So what are some of the signs of competition becoming unhealthy?

  • People demand more time from leaders on a one-to-one basis.
  • Power struggles become evident in meetings or workspace.
  • Delay and/or disjointed delivery of work, projects etc.
  • Individuals lose sight of how their behaviour and words impact on the motivation and contribution of others.
  • Increase in work politics, people talking behind each other’s backs.
  • Leaders perceived as having a biased opinion or unfairly promoting individuals.

How do leaders overcome this?

  • Communicate the value your business places on working as a team through recruitment, orientation and ongoing.
  • Emphasise success by working together is a more exciting and rewarding experience.
  • Pro-actively promote ‘development’ by learning from others
  • Model the behaviour you’re hoping to inspire by demonstrating a genuine interest in the people you work with and taking time to ask appropriate questions which receive a thoughtful response. Avoid using online communication tools like 15Five as a means of replacing this vital leadership skill.
  • Structure work, projects and initiatives as something in need of diverse perspective and competencies. As well as assigning this work to teams, also let people volunteer to participate when appropriate as this will lead to teaming becoming the norm.
  • Recognise and reward successful teaming more than individual performance.
  • Set up celebratory beers and Ping Pong teaming events. If your workspace doesn’t have a table, check out Bounce

Trying to get that edge over your opponent is a mindset many high achieving professions want to cultivate.