How to Lead Competitors

Good sales people are competitive. It’s in their DNA. Their focus is on being the best. Breaking records. Beating out the competition – even if that competition is comprised of their fellow colleagues.

This same winner-take-all drive can hinder a competitor’s opportunities to lead others. Sometimes it’s because their own leaders think that the person’s competitiveness will keep them from caring for or thinking of the people they lead. Sometimes it’s because their teammates are more comfortable working for a nurturing, servant-minded leader rather than a competitive producer. Some may think that in order for the individual to be a capable leader they must dilute their competitive drive.

However, as a leader of sales people, the last thing I want to do is kill a sales leader’s competitive drive – but I do need to get that person to change how they measure their success. A competitor is going to compete regardless of what challenge you give them – so change up their scorecard.

  • Instead of focusing on their individual production, track their wins based on their ability to help the team accomplish their goals.
  • Illustrate how you are relying on them to lead their team to hit those goals.
  • Then, help them think through the actions they will need to take to lead the team toward accomplishing those goals.

Great competitors can also be great leaders. We shouldn’t try to put out their competitive fire. Instead, we simply need to redirect that drive by changing their scorecard to reflect their ability to lead their team to achieve success.

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