Wednesday, May 22, 2024

To take charge or a step back

There are two kinds of people in this world: collaborators and competitors. There are two different approaches to do homework assignments, projects, jobs and other tasks that we can encounter during our day-to-day lives.

I think there’s a clear divide between people who naturally take on the competitive role and those who have adapted a collaborative attitude. Which category do you fall under?

A competitor is confident. They believe they can accomplish the task at hand without any help. They use the hard work of others as motivation. Being goal-oriented is a big part of this perspective. You work best under pressure.

Taking on the competitive role isn’t for the faint of heart. Relying on your competitive side could signify that you like to be in charge. You see situations as black and white — right and wrong — there’s always a winner and a loser. This attitude could turn you sour if you aren’t careful.

When does it become too much? Are you filling your life with unnecessary stress?

To me, being a collaborator means you’re more of a people person. I’m not saying people who enjoy a little competition are selfish, either. I just think people who would rather collaborate seem to value the opinions of others more than competitors.

Collaborators are at their best when they’re letting ideas flow freely with a group of friends.

You’ve learned to trust others to do what’s expected of them. Could this put you at risk?

When it comes to group work, it isn’t difficult to fall victim to the laziness of others. Remember that their procrastination is their problem. Learning to separate the ideas of a group of people is another huge aspect of this attitude.

If you’re a natural communicator, use your skills. If you’re a better group member, your competitive friends will try to take the lead, but stay strong.

Are these behaviors learned?

David Johnson and Roger Johnson, professors at the University of Minnesota, conducted research on the topic.

“Some of the standard ways that people once learned to cooperate — home, churches, communities — are not operating as they did a generation ago. Teaching young people how to cooperate does not receive the appropriate level of interest. As a result, competition breeds unabated. Few are teaching, practicing, or promoting a better idea,” according to Roger Johnson.

Both personalities have their ups and downs. A mix of the two creates the perfect combination — you get positive benefits from both.

In 1920, Social Psychologist Floyd Allport found that a group of people working alone at the same table performed better on a range of tasks, even though they weren’t collaborating or competing.

Allport’s research illustrates how the energy of others act as a substitute team, even if we’re working solo.

It’s like taking a class at the gym, everyone is making the same movements, but they’re also doing their own thing. It’d be weird to be alone in the class but you aren’t worried about what others are doing.

If you’re a competitor, remember to appreciate your competition, and learn from them. If you’re a collaborator, remember to have a strong voice. It easy to become muffled by competitors of the group.

To the collaborators, maybe you need a little confidence from competitors in your life to help you out. As for competitors, learning to communicate with others collaborators could give you a clearer perspective.

Email Madison Winters at

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