Competition's team-building value

Many debate the "right" way to do team-building. Some feel it's best to pit individual against individual, the thinking being that the team's success depends on individual accomplishments. Certain sporting events are structured that way:  singles tennis team tournaments, Olympic skiing, track, and bowling, for example.

Others suggest that groups working together in competition with similar, rival groups best promote team work. The idea is that the team only succeeds if the team communicates, supports each other, even sacrifices their own glory for the good of the team. Sports following this model include baseball, football, hockey, and soccer.

What both models share in common is the idea that competition itself provides extra energy and incentive to win. In baseball, for example, there is extra excitement when key rivals play, such as the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. Even better is when, as is the case this season, the two teams are locked in a neck-and-neck race all season long for first place.

When that happens, exceptional efforts emerge from unlikely sources to help the team win. In the last 3-game matchup between the Bronx Bombers and the Beantown Boys, the heroes were named Swisher, Ellsbury and Reddick - hardly household names like Jeter, A-Rod, Ortiz and Gonzales.

Competition is valuable. But what kind do you want on your team - one in which your team's stars try to best one another, giving one performer all of the glory? Or one in which the glory goes to the team as a whole?




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