What if…. someone gets overly competitive?


What you will See:

  • Taking the activity too seriously.
  • Bending the rules or cheating.
  • Extreme efforts to win or do better than others.
  • Overly discussing the activity afterward with a focus on strategies and missed opportunities rather than on learning opportunities.

Likely Causes:

  • A naturally competitive environment in the workplace like a sales force.
  • Naturally competitive people.
  • Too much focus on the activity from the facilitator.
  • Work environment filled with silos and butt-covering

How to Prevent it:

  • Focus the group’s attention on the activity’s purpose and learning goals when introducing it by front-loading the activity.
  • For a naturally competitive group, select activities that encourage teamwork or that have less of an element of competition.

What to Do:

  • Focus the Debrief on what happened, why it happened, group dynamics and so forth rather than on who won or did better than whom.
  • Discuss the competitiveness that came out, why it occurred and how helpful or destructive it was – Competition CAN be good.
  • If you must, stop the activity in the middle of the activity to remind the group of the purpose and learning goals


Adapted from Quick Team-Building Activities for Busy Managers by Brian Miller.



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