Competition in the Workplace
March Madness is here and as a college basketball coach for 27 years, my biggest competitor was always myself. When I was younger, I was so driven and strived to consistently improve on my own results. Today, I coach clients on how they can compete – against themselves, against metrics, and against other competitors – in order to grow and sustain their business.
The workplace environment today looks completely different than in the past. Things have changed and the old career ladder model no longer works. It doesn’t matter what industry; business models, environments and expectations are drastically different than traditional standards. This includes the way we compete and how we are measured on our performance.
Are you in a male dominated industry? The answer is probably yes. With the exception of a few fields, most industries today are still dominated by men. If you’re the only woman at the table, on the leadership team, I want to ask you a few questions:
How are you doing so far?
How are you competing and working with others?
Is your voice getting heard?
Are you marginalized?
Are your opinions being validated?
What does your current role look like?
Expectations & Performance
Competition, regardless of gender, it is all about having high expectations. What are the standards that you set for yourself? Are you an underperformer, average or a high achiever?
- What are your metrics?
- What are your expectations?
- What are your goals?
- How are you measured?
- What metrics are used in your performance goals?
Holding yourself to high expectations is an integral part of your success. The best results happen when you’re holding yourself accountable. If not, who is? I hope you have high expectations of yourself. Your business, organization and industry have high standards and expectations, you should too. These benchmarks are how you’re measured and how you compete, regardless of gender or situation. You have complete control over your own success, value and work ethic.
Where Is the Bar Set?
What is your role and responsibilities in the workplace? How high is your bar set? Is it only meeting the bare minimum expectations because you’re afraid to fail? What are your reach or stretch goals? How driven are you to achieve greatness? The answers are some of the reasons why few women are in executive leadership positions. They are capable of doing the job, but the fear of failure paralyzes many. It takes confidence and a mindset.
Only 14.6% of executive roles have women in those positions. A large percentage of that group of women played sports. That is not a coincidence. Women with a history of playing sports understand competition, are driven, have resilience, and are not afraid of failure. It’s time to set the bar higher. No one is asking you to cut corners or sacrifice your values; they are simply expecting you to meet expectations and compete.
How do you reach higher without losing your integrity and core values? How does your character impact your stakeholders, clients, patients, and team members? The struggle is finding a balance between staying true to you while matching (or exceeding) expectations. Don’t go away from your values in order to succeed. We can still be high performers, have our voices heard and be true to ourselves. What is your game plan for doing that? This is often a conflict for people in the workplace and I coach them to achieve this balance.
How do you gain respect when you’re the only woman in the room? Is your voice heard and you are not marginalized? First, take a look in the mirror. Are you reaching your goals? Are you a valuable member of the team and a high performer? If so, then you deserve to be at the table. Be confident with your own executive and leadership presence.
If you are not reaching goals, then evaluate yourself and create a strategy for success. Gaining respect is a combination of work ethic, drive and results. Emulate that desire to be the best and start knocking those metrics out of the park. If you want to be the best, prove it with your actions and results. You will gain confidence, understand your true value, and feel connected in your work environment. Prove that you are the best at what you do. This mindset is what is needed to get to the next level.
Men are always competing. Understand how they think and the expectations they have for themselves. Hold yourself accountable. What expectations do you have for yourself? Take responsibility and control your own attitude and work ethic.
Compete against yourself and keep striving to achieve more to deliver results. Start by taking a look in the mirror.
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This business leadership book is a Game Plan for Life, Leadership, and Performing With Grace Under Fire. Each one will be autographed with a personal note and I will send it directly to you.