There are many ways to improve the performance of a team. Some swear by ensuring that team members have the right skills and resources while others say that introducing competition brings about the performance needed to take the team and the organization to the next level. The reality is, a little competition is healthy but if not managed properly, it can lead to backstabbing, information and resource hoarding, or even in-fighting, all of which are detrimental to the organization.
While competition is inherently human, it can be divisive, and this causes people to pull towards different directions, instead of working towards a common goal. Collaboration is about winning as a whole. It is about moving together and winning as a team or losing as a whole. Collaboration passes the message that everyone works towards ensuring that the organization wins and thus, the organization is seen as being bigger than the individual. This means that survival for the fittest is about making the organization the fittest amongst its competitors, and not individuals.
With this in mind, every organization should strive to create a collaborative environment, which has been shown to breed innovation and success. Here are the reasons why collaboration is a superior alternative to competition.
Collaboration Encourages Information and Resource Sharing
In the modern world, competition means that information and resources must be used effectively to enable a company to grow. This can only happen when people with different strengths and capabilities bring their ideas together and use the available resources to enhance productivity. With collaboration, ideas are sharpened, and what would otherwise be a challenge to one person is shared amongst team members based on their strengths. This leads to the generation of strong and innovative ideas which have propelled companies to the top of the industries in which they operate. Therefore, as a leader, it is important to foster collaboration as a way of facilitating innovation and creativity.
2. Competition is About Feeding the Ego While Collaboration is About Pulling Strengths Together
The key to a successful team is the ability to complement one another based on the skills and competencies within the team. With collaboration, the strengths of team members are more important than the capabilities of an individual. However, competition is all about feeding an individual’s ego, which can happen at the expense of other team members. This prioritizes the role of the individual in the achievement of goals as opposed to the role of the team in moving the organization forward. The result is that individuals get to the finish line alone, which adds no value to the team or the organization. However, with collaboration, there is improved productivity as every member of the team brings their best game to the table, which fills in the vacuum created by the weaknesses of others.
3. Collaboration Boosts Morale
Employee engagement is one of the best ways to ensure that people remain committed to the organization and its goals. With competition, people become stressed and they lose their drive to work easily. Collaboration encourages people to harness their strengths and work closely with others to help them in areas where they are weak. This creates an environment of trust, which leads to improved staff morale and productivity. Teams that work together towards resolving issues have proven to improve engagement, as everyone works for the benefit of the entire team and not just for their own success.
4. Collaboration Creates a Sense of Security
One of the most important aspects of a successful work environment is the ability to create a sense of mental security for those who work tirelessly to take the organization to the highest point. Mental security means that one is not afraid of failing and this encourages people to try out new ideas. In a collaborative environment, people are also not afraid of losing their jobs due to unfair competition. The result is an environment in which ideas thrive and people are motivated to constantly remain creative.
5. Collaboration Encourages People to Perform Beyond Their Expectations
Teamwork makes the dream work and this can only happen if everyone brings their A-game on board. Since the idea is to make sure that the entire team wins, everyone works hard to ensure that the best results are realized. On the other hand, since ideas are always being sharpened, people often work over and beyond their expectations to make the best ideas work. This increases productivity and leaders do not have to push their subordinates to deliver on their expectations.
6. Productivity is of Higher Quality and Projects Move Faster
Collaboration encourages people to share ideas openly and assist one another. This helps in improving ideas since people bring in different perspectives and experiences. The result is a higher quality of work, as opposed to situations where everyone works on ideas individually. On the other hand, projects move faster as people do not fear to seek help when they are stuck. With collaboration, an entire project can also be divided up into small bits amongst team members. The small tasks are delivered quickly and efficiently and this means that projects take a shorter time to be completed. As a result, more projects can be completed over a shorter period, which translates into improved productivity.
While human nature is competitive, competition does not always translate into the best results. Collaboration, however, pulls everyone behind one common goal, leading to better results for the company. The best leaders create an environment in which their subordinates feel free to work together as opposed to working against one another. As the saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work so bring your team together and see the magic happen.