One way to really get people going is to build competition, but what happens when that competition goes to far or becomes unfair or demoralizing, that is when it’s critical to take a step back and really make a connection with your team and find things that work for them. In management often times we have to take a step back from the everyday mundane competitions we put out there for our teams and think about what makes them really want to work.
This goes back to the verbal praise and public recognition being more important than winning prizes or being given an incentive. When we appeal to our team and put everything into competition mode, it can often come back to be less effective in the end. While some healthy competition is great occasionally, when you begin to bring it into every day activities, it loses its value and the short-term gain does not out-weigh the long-term loss.
So when putting competitions in place to make team members perform remember these three little things:
1. Use it when it makes sense; don’t just incent people to incent them. It becomes insincere and unimportant.
2. Focus on what really matters; don’t make a competition for something that isn’t critical for your company success. If you are not performing in the area of customer service, make that the focus, when you make the focus about something that is not underperforming it will be less successful.
3. Get them involved; ask the team themselves what they think is important, what they want to focus on, and how they want to focus on it. Do they even believe that competition is the best way to get results? Remember, the people who work for you are often your biggest asset when it comes to the needs of the team and the customers.