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The Sideline Blog

Just as sports players come to the sideline for rest and guidance, this blog is meant to provide you some insight and guidance as you explore your Strengths journey.

Gallup®, CliftonStrengths®, and the 34 theme names of CliftonStrengths® are 
trademarks of Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved.

  • Writer's pictureChad T. Ahern

Talents & Burnout: Competition®

People exceptionally talented in Competition theme measure their progress against the performance of others. They strive to win first place and revel in contests.

- Gallup CliftonStrengths® Themes Quick Reference Guide -

Burnout Concerns

Times of change push us all to take on new challenges and figure out new ways to succeed. The challenge for those with Competition® talents is that change can often serve as a "reset." Whatever "racing gap" you had established over your competitors might now be gone. Getting that advantage back can push those with Competition® talents to potentially overextend themselves; trying to regain it all in one fell swoop.

In our current pandemic, those Competition talents could be pushed toward burnout because,

They may want to be the first back to the office, even if it isn’t quite safe; thus breeding frustration.

They are already mentally in action (or trying to be). Akin to how a race car can burn through its tires in a standstill, your Competition®-driven colleagues may already be "spinning in place," exhausting mental resources they'll need as we return to work.

They may chafe at the idea of having to wait to return to the office, especially if they see their neighbors and friends beginning to do so.

We are literally "changing the game" of business. Companies and organizations are defining new, different, and sometimes personalized "scorecards" to measure what it means to succeed. This can (or could) leave those with Competition® talents unsure of how they get ahead of their peers and competitors which in turn could mean they exert a lot of energy trying to "best everyone," without actually achieving the ideal end goal.

With many communities and businesses coming together to collaborate, rather than compete, it may be tough for those with Completion® talents to know who they are trying to “beat.”

Addressing Concerns

If you as a leader or colleague want to help your Competition®-driven colleagues not burn themselves out before the race is run;

Within the context of our current pandemic

Help refocus their competitive spirit on ensuring we beat COVID-19 through safe health and workplace practices; particularly as we gradually return to in-person work environments.

Set up internal competitions that build upon safety practices:

  • If 6’ feet is the norm, can they maintain an 8’ foot safety circle?

  • How LONG can they stay at home…can they be the last to return to the office?

  • Who took the fewest trips to the grocery store in the past month?

  • How long can you wear a mask without taking it off?

For other times of change, refocus their competitive nature

Get their input early on defining the organizational and industry "scorecards." You may need to guide them away from just establishing metrics they know they can win at, but they are also likely to know how the competition is now measuring success.

Help them identify which "competitions" are central to your organization in our new world of work. These may have an internal or external focus, but starting to refocus on some targets will help those with Competition® talents define their race course.

As with coaching any individual, their combined set of talent themes will effect how their Competition®​ talents show up, and how to best manage them. As a beginning, next time you check-in with them, ask,

Who or what are you trying to best today, and

​how can I help you succeed?

Photo by Alex Andrews from Pexels.

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