Team-Building or Team-Destroying? How To Boost Positive Competition

Team-Building or Team-Destroying? How To Boost Positive Competition


To stay ahead of the game, your team needs to keep performing on optimum. They need to keep a competitive edge, and a little positive competition among team members can be the secret. But it’s a delicate undertaking, with the destructive nature of negative competition the price for getting it wrong.

Negotiating the thin line between the two types of competition is tricky. We know because, at Orangeworks, we have paid particular attention to developing team building experiences that promote a healthy competitive atmosphere where participants gain a sense of achievement by working together.

Competition can inspire higher performances – just ask the world’s most successful sports stars. But Roger Federer, Cristiano Ronaldo and LeBron James can all tell you that wanting what might be mistaken as joyful banter and team-spirit can have a very negative impact on teams.

In fact, events can range from the humiliating (name-calling, spanking, nappy-wearing) to the pointless (movie-watching, secret-sharing) leaving participants wondering where the ‘team building’ part was.

Your team building experiences need to be structured right to encourage greater team engagement and counter the negative influences that can be so detrimental.

Positive vs Negative Competition: What’s the difference?

Experts define positive competition as competitive activities that promote an ‘everyone wins’ attitude. Negative competition, on the other hand, promotes the idea that success of one team depends entirely on the failure of the other. The impact competition has within the workplace can be striking.

The team experiences most effective in providing Positive Competition are those where members have to work collectively toward a common goal, and the reward is communal. Individual team members may compete to improve their own position within the team, but it’s done in a spirit that is overwhelmingly cooperative.

Positive competition can motivate, eradicate complacency, encourage personnel to push beyond their comfort zone, and inspires innovative thinking.

Negative competition, however, is based on the simplistic concept of ‘beating your opponent’, promotes constant comparisons amongst colleagues, hinders collaboration, increases stress, encourages fear and hostility, and decreases respect between members.

Getting Event Components Right

The importance of getting team building events right is extremely important, and there are some key components they should contain. We’ve shortlisted into just three points, with events providing:

  • common goals for all participants to ensure cooperation is the clear route to success
  • rewards for those who help others get good results and contribute to a nice experience, as well as to those who actually get good results
  • time to let participants reflect on how what they learn can be applied at work

At Orangeworks, our experiences are designed to provide Positive Competition, requiring team members to work together and interact in a constructive way to achieve a specified goal.

Get started on an unforgettable experience to improve your team’s performance, contact us now to explore some ideas.