Competition Strength: Get Known For Your Talent

I hear a lot of reflections about how to apply your CliftonStrengths talent theme of Competition to your career.

In this series, I break down one strength per post so that you can add to the insights from your StrengthsFinder report and make an even stronger alignment between your current job and your strengths.

- If you’re exploring this concept as a manager, use this series for career development ideas and even new clues about responsibilities you could give a person with this talent theme so that they can show up at their best.

- If you’re exploring this concept for yourself, use this as a chance to build a reputation for your strengths so that you’re more likely to be given assignments that live in your strengths zone.

You’ll get three layers to chew on:

1. Career Branding
2. Red Flag Situations At Work
3. Fresh Application Ideas

Career Branding For The Competition Strength

You probably already have a reputation for what you know. Think about your personal resume, CV, or your LinkedIn profile, I bet it's full of “the what,” which are things like job titles, skills, knowledge, expertise, or the degree you earned. What’s missing is usually "the how,” and this is where your StrengthsFinder talent themes live.

Chances are good that you are a lot like my StrengthsFinder training clients, where you don’t physically see your teammates and customers every day. So many of us work on remote teams. That’s why LinkedIn has become so important for career branding. It’s how your teammates, customers, and vendors go look you up before a meeting - to see who they’re about to talk to. And rather than only telling them what you know, you should also give them a peek at how it is to work with you.

Here are a bunch of adjectives to consider using in your career branding efforts and your LinkedIn profile when you lead through the Competition strength:

  • Winner
  • Energetic
  • Selective
  • Intense
  • Record Holder
  • Driven
  • Scorekeeper
  • Striver
  • Measurer
  • Champion
  • Challenger
  • Scrappy
  • Ratings Creator
  • Performer
  • Gamer (not necessarily like the Fortnite kind, more like "I'm always game - I'm up for a challenge")

Red Flag Situations When You Lead With The Competition Strength

These are the cultures, interactions, or situations that might feel like soul-sucking drudgery to someone with the talent theme of Competition. They could even make you want to quit the team if they get really bad. So I’ll give you a couple of these to be on watch for — because if they fester, you might become detached or disengaged at work.

Here are a couple of Red flags for the Competition strength (talent theme):

  1. No Public Metrics. Call them KPIs. Winning Scorecards. Dashboards. Performance Metrics. Quotas. Standards. Job Levels. Targets. Whatever you call them, they’re something you need if you lead through the Competition strength because you find it motivating to know where you stand. When there's no measure of success, you have no idea how you compare to others. And that’s no fun if your drive comes from your ranking of things.

  2. Everyone Gets A Trophy. If you're in a culture where people get rewarded for simply showing up, you might feel offended and drained. In a work environment, this can be more annoying than in 7-year-old soccer leagues because it tells you that you don’t work in a meritocracy. If everyone gets the same commission or bonus or job level for the same, mediocre performance, it will really take away the juice that makes you want to be awesome.

3 Fresh Application Ideas For The Competition Strength

These are ways to apply the talent theme of Competition at work , even when the job duties on the team feel pretty locked in. If you’re exploring this concept as a team manager, be sure to have a conversation around these ideas. You’ll both be able to come up with places to apply them.

For someone who leads through the Competition strength, put the talent to good use with one of these options:

  1. Earn A Personal Record. Even when you run a 5k by yourself, it’s fun to set a personal record (PR). Translate this to mundane tasks at work to give yourself the juice to blast through them at work. For example, if you made 90 phone calls one day, challenge yourself to get to 100 tomorrow, or to get to 90 in 7 hours rather than 8.

  2. Help Someone Else Win. Share your hacks and tactics. Help other people on the team step their game up. Since winning is fun, you’ll enjoy treating someone else to that feeling. Also, it allows you to keep stepping your game up so that you can feel challenged in a pool of smart and formidable teammates. As the water level of the whole pool goes up, so does yours. So do the company results.

  3. Challenge Someone To A Duel. Find someone else at work who thrives on winning. Look for a top performer who will make you step your game up in order to win the bragging rights. Make it a duel that you have a chance at winning. At the same time, be sure it’s not a “gimme” because it’s no fun when you’re not even in a legit challenge. Of course, the smack talk and the energy of the competition is fun, yet it’s also a great way to meet company goals by pushing each other to set new records and pull off more than you’ve ever done before.

Here's Your Personal Branding Homework For The Competition Strength

  1. Go take action on your LinkedIn profile with the career branding section. Challenge yourself to write one sentence in the About section of LinkedIn that captures how you collaborate as a teammate at work.
  2. Then think over the red flags to see if there’s anything you need to get in front of before it brings you down. You might decide to make the situation mean something different, or pre-plan a reaction for the next time it comes around.
  3. Volunteer your talents through the application ideas. If you’re a manager, have a conversation with your team members about which of these things sound like something they’d love to have more of.
  4. Dig into the Competition strength all the way. You can really nerd out on the nuances on the Competition Talent Theme Page.

 

Here's A Full Transcript Of The 9 Minute Episode

You're listening to Lead Through Strengths, where you'll learn to apply your greatest strengths at work. I'm your host, Lisa Cummings and I got to tell you, it's tough to find something more energizing than using your talents every day at work. I hear a lot of juice about how to align CliftonStrengths talent themes, like Competition, and how do I take what's in my report and attach that to the work, the practical everyday stuff that I do, so I can step my game up at work.

Now, if you're listening as a manager, use this series for career development ideas or to get clues for responsibilities you could give a person who leads through Competition, so they can show up at their best. That means they get to win. But it also means they love to help other people win as well.

If you're listening for yourself because you lead through Competition, use this as a chance to build a reputation for that strength, so that you're more likely to be given assignments that live in that zone.

So today, with the talent theme of Competition, you're going to get three layers. One is career branding. Two is red flag situations. And three, are some application ideas for you. So, let's talk career branding first. Now, you probably already have a reputation for your subject-matter expertise, your knowledge areas, your skills, the roles that you succeeded in, in the past. But let's talk about the ‘how’ – how you think, how you interact, how you make decision, what gives you the juice and the motivation to be such a workhorse or a strategic player or a results getter.

These are the kinds of things. These are the ways that you work that feel easy and enjoyable. And if you can tap into that piece, that is how you get stuff done, how you show up at work. And you get known for that. It totally changes everything because when you get known for being this person, you start to get assignments that are like that person.

Okay, some words to consider. Winner. Energetic. Selective. Intense. Record-Holder. Driven. Scorekeeper. Striver. Measurer. Champion. Challenger. Scrappy. Ratings Creator. Gamer (and I don't mean a literal gamer, although you could be, but I mean, more like,- ”oh, yeah, you're always game, you're up for a competition, you're up for a challenge!). And finally, Performer.

So, think about which one really resonated with you. Now, depending on what kind of role you're in, a different set of these could totally apply to a different person. Imagine one of the first comments that I hear about Competition is often, - “Well, I'm not in a sales role. And so, if I'm not, then is it really just kind of a useless thing in my list?” Well, no, that's not the case at all. Because if you lead through Competition, you love to win, but you also love to help other people win, and you love to help the company win. And because you have a measurement focus, you can be in a very analytical role and put this into really good use.

So, this is one of those themes that you're like, - “Oh, that's just a salesperson theme. And I'm not one. So, I'm not sure how I can use that.” Oh, there are a lot of ways to use this because this is all about measuring results.

Let's talk red flag situations. These are cultures, interactions or situations that are going to feel like soul-sucking drudgery to you if you lead through that theme. These are the kind of things that if they fester, they could even give you the urge to quit the team or become detached at work.

So, first one, I've seen it time and time again, this is no public metrics. You can call them KPIs, winning scorecards, dashboards, performance metrics, quotas, standards, job levels, targets, whatever you call them. Even though the things I just listed can be different things, these types of things, these measures, they’re something that you need if you lead through Competition, because you find it motivating to know where you stand. And if there's no measure of success, and you have no idea how you compare to others, and you have no way of knowing why you're doing a job, if you're doing the job at the tip top performance levels, that's not going to be any fun, because your drive comes from the ranking of things.

Number two, everyone gets a trophy. If you're in a culture where people get rewarded for simply showing up, you might feel offended and drained. In a work environment, this can be more annoying than that comment that people make about 7-year-old soccer leagues. This is that reference to, “Oh everyone gets a trophy today in those kids soccer leagues.”

Well at work if you lead through Competition, if you don't feel like you live in a meritocracy, if everyone gets the same commission or bonus or job level for the same mediocre performance, it'll really take away the juice that makes you want to be awesome. So, watch out for those. Get ahead of those. Even if you have to make up your own competition and your own set of metrics that you can compete with for you, to get your motivation back, then do it.

Speaking of that, let's get into some application items. One of those is very much on that order. So, if you manage someone who leads through Competition, here are some ideas for putting this talent to good use. And if you personally lead through Competition, think about these and pick one that really fires you up.

Number one, earn a personal record. So, you know, even if you ran a 5K by yourself, it's fun to set a personal record. This isn't you competing against someone else. That's you competing against you. Well, translate that to the mundane tasks at work to give yourself the energy to blast through them at work.

So, let's say you had to do something that felt like a task-driven burden, like you had to make 90 phone calls in a day. Well, if you made 90 of the thousand phone calls, you have to make over a given piece of time, well, challenge yourself to get 100 tomorrow because you were able to get 90 the day before, or get that same 90 in seven hours rather than on eight hours. Set your own targets. You against you. And have fun earning a personal record over it.

Number two, help someone else win. Share your hacks. Share your tactics. Help other people on the team step their game up. Since winning is fun, you'll enjoy treating someone else to the feeling of winning. And also, it allows you to keep stepping your game up because you will feel challenged in a pool of smart and formidable teammates. They may even be your opponents. Well, they don't know it because you want them to do well so you have something to compete against even if it's one of those silent competitions where they don't know they're involved with it.

As the water level of the whole pool goes up in the team, well, so does yours and so do the company results.

Number three, challenge someone to a duel. Find someone else at work who thrives on winning. Usually, you know, you've probably already talked a little smack to each other. So, look for a top performer who will make you step your game up in order to win the bragging rights of whatever given thing is. Make it a duel that you have a chance at winning, because it's no fun to lead through Competition and play in a game that you know you can't win. At the same time, be sure it's not a gimme. because it's no fun to win when it's not even a legit challenge.

So, you have to set those targets for yourself right in that challenging sweet spot. And of course, the smack talk, the energy, the trash talk of the competition, that'll be fun. But it's also a great way to meet company goals because you'll be pushing each other to set new records and pull off more than you've ever done before.

So, there you have it, a quick tour for building your career through the talent theme of Competition. Sending a shout out to Joe Darren for content contributions on this one.

And let's get into your homework.

One, go take some action on that career branding thing, and challenge yourself to write one sentence in the about section of LinkedIn. One that captures how you collaborate as a teammate at work.

Then go over those red flags. See if there's anything you need to get in front of before it brings you down and makes you want to detach; makes you lose that mojo and motivation.

And then finally, volunteer your talents through the application ideas. And if you're a manager, have a conversation with your team members about which of these things sound like something that they'd love to have more of, that would get them fired up.

With that I'm your host Lisa Cummings from Lead Through Strengths. If you're thinking about how to build a strengths-based culture in your office, head over to leadthroughstrengths.com/training to see if our live virtual training offerings are a good fit for you.

Until next time. Thank you for being part of this powerful strengths movement that helps people unleash the awesomeness already inside them.

About Deena Silverman

Deena Silverman is the Director of Customer Experience at Lead Through Strengths, where she helps teams improve their productivity by focusing on their natural talents. Deena helps leaders pull off seamless strengths-based events that change the culture of their company. One of her greatest joys is studying human behavior and helping others achieve their goals. When she's not using her organizational strengths to create awesome events, you can find her running around with her two special boys and her unique dog, Ranger. Or she might be hunting for Gary, her repeat-escapee hamster with a top talent of persistence. Her Top 5 StrengthsFinder Talents are: Individualization | Achiever | Learner | Input | Activator.