Strengths Coaching Blog

Friday, May 19, 2017

Competition: Living for the Victory of the Game - Theme Thursday Season 3

On this Theme Thursday Season Three webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Competition with guest Eric Gillis.





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Competition is rooted in comparison. When you look at the world, you are instinctively aware of other people’s performance. Their performance is the ultimate yardstick. No matter how hard you tried, no matter how worthy your intentions, if you reached your goal but did not outperform your peers, the achievement feels hollow. Like all competitors, you need other people. You need to compare. If you can compare, you can compete, and if you can compete, you can win. And when you win, there is no feeling quite like it. 

You like measurement because it facilitates comparisons. You like other competitors because they invigorate you. You like contests because they must produce a winner. You particularly like contests where you know you have the inside track to be the winner. Although you are gracious to your fellow competitors and even stoic in defeat, you don’t compete for the fun of competing. You compete to win. Over time, you will come to avoid contests where winning seems unlikely.


Competition isn’t about trying really hard and learning when you try, it is about winning. Competition sometimes gets compared to Achiever. Achiever is about the effort and process to complete, and the excitement is putting in a lot of elbow grease and work. With Competition it can take a little work, or a lot of work. It’s not done until you’ve won. 

What does Competition look like as a leader? As an individual it can look like you’re outpacing everyone else, but with a leader it is not just about what you or your team are doing, but how you are comparing to others. This is how leaders can stay ahead of the curve, it is how they can stay in-tuned with their clients and customers, and it is how they can set meaningful benchmarks for their teams that bring a lot of clarity towards forward progress. 

There is a developmental nature of noticing heroes and noticing champions. People with high Competition are paying attention to winning. They are paying attention to what works, and who is the very best. They are constantly scanning their team, as well as their competition, discovering who the best is and finding a way to be a part of that. This is a fantastic mentor tool. People with high Competition notice the talent in others, and they do it in such quantifiable ways that often they have never seen that talent in themselves. 

Competition in a leader can mean paying attention to celebration. Competition does need a challenge. It needs something to grow, something to improve, and someone to compare to. A way to think of investing in Competition as a leader is to make sure you are paying attention to higher and better performers. Who is constantly helping you push that envelope, and how can you compare yourself to them?

Any leader can build great trust by just increasing their self-awareness, and helping others learn about themselves as well. So as a leader with Competition, how do you communicate your passion for winning, and where can you express the cost of a loss? Find great ways to help share that joy, and think about how you handle yourself when you don’t win. Make sure you have some safe places where others can either give you space or help you through it. 

A leader with Competition can show compassion by understanding how they tailor their Competition to the very best place possible, and how do they use that to develop other people. Who is competing with you, and how can you push them further? How can you make each other better? With stability, how can you talk about what your team has to offer now, and what they have to offer in the future? Who are you mentoring? You pay attention to what works. You pay attention to heroes and champions, and so what is your team improving? How can they build on that in the future? 

It is important to ask leaders about the measures to beat inside and outside of the organization. How can you illustrate them and make them crystal clear for people? Competition’s natural inclination to measure things and see the progress can be the best tool you have in order to help others see how tomorrow is going to be better. This is the best way to build hope. 

How do you feel about the Competition Theme in a leadership role? Share your thoughts and experiences on the Called to Coach Facebook page.

Pressed for time? We now have all of our Theme Thursday videos in short, easy-to-digest snippets and other Gallup-Certified Strengths Coaches break down the nuances of each theme.

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Eric Gillis is the Director of Asset Management for CareTrust REIT. He was first introduced to strengths when he worked for Marriott Vacation Club when Gallup partnered with them in Strengths as well as the Q12 Engagement practice. He fell in love with it and it became a passion in his life. He loved it so much that he joined Gallup/University of Nebraska MBA program and studied there to receive his MBA with a large emphasis in Gallup Research. 

CareTrust REIT is a Healthcare Real-Estate Investment Trust. They own 160 Senior Living Communities, and Eric is head of all the asset management. In this role, he is the main conduit between the 17 different tenant/operators and the organization. They are a publicly traded company and are on the NASDAQ: CTRE. 



Eric's top 5 strengths are: Maximizer | Activator | Belief | Arranger | Positivity.

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