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An Introduction to the Competition® CliftonStrengths Theme

Looking to learn more about Competition? Whether you want to know more about how to use your Competition theme to succeed, or how to help someone harness theirs, you've come to the right place.

You'll find definitions and descriptions made popular in the international bestseller StrengthsFinder 2.0, plus ideas for how to better understand and use this CliftonStrengths theme.

What Is the Definition of Competition?

Competition and the rest of the CliftonStrengths themes are comprised of natural talents that Gallup has identified through decades of research.

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

People complete the CliftonStrengths assessment to learn which of the 34 themes, like Competition, are strongest in them.

The following theme description highlights the thoughts, feelings and behaviors you are likely to experience if you have strong Competition:

Competition is rooted in comparison. When you look at the world, you are instinctively aware of other people's performance. Their performance is the ultimate yardstick.

No matter how hard you tried, no matter how worthy your intentions, if you reached your goal but did not outperform your peers, the achievement feels hollow. Like all competitors, you need other people. You need to compare. If you can compare, you can compete, and if you can compete, you can win. And when you win, there is no feeling quite like it.

You like measurement because it facilitates comparisons. You like other competitors because they invigorate you. You like contests because they must produce a winner. You particularly like contests where you know you have the inside track to be the winner.

Although you are gracious to your fellow competitors and even stoic in defeat, you don't compete for the fun of competing. You compete to win. Over time you will come to avoid contests where winning seems unlikely.

Competition is a theme in the Influencing domain of CliftonStrengths.

People with dominant Influencing themes like Competition take charge, speak up and make sure others are heard.

Each of the 34 CliftonStrengths sort to one of four domains -- Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building and Strategic Thinking. These domains help you understand how to use individual CliftonStrengths to succeed when you join, create or lead a team.

Learn more about the CliftonStrengths domains

How to Better Understand Your Competition Theme

Making the most of your Competition talents starts with gaining valuable insights into what you naturally do best.

How people with strong Competition talents describe themselves:

  • "I am aware of my competitors."
  • "I need peers for comparison and motivation."
  • "I love a chance to go against the best."
  • "I hate coming in second."
  • "I bring an aspiration to be the best."

How to Apply Your Competition to Succeed

The most successful people invest in their strongest talents. The only way to develop your Competition talents is to use them every day -- at work, at home and everywhere else.

The following are a few ideas for how to apply your Competition to achieve your goals:

Work With Competition: List the performance scores that help you know where you stand every day. What scores should you pay attention to? When you win, take the time to investigate why you won. You can learn a great deal more from a victory than from a loss.

Lead With Competition: When competing with others, create development opportunities by choosing to compare yourself to someone who is slightly above your current level of expertise. Your competition will push you to refine your skills and knowledge to exceed those of that person. Look one or two levels above you for a role model who will push you to improve.

Live With Competition: Let people know that being competitive does not equate with putting others down. Explain that you derive satisfaction from pitting yourself against good, strong competitors and winning. Take the time to celebrate your wins. In your world, there is no victory without celebration.

Check out our in-depth videos from Gallup experts for more ways to use Competition to make the most of your potential.


If You're a Manager With Competition

Your Competition talent makes you stronger. Lead with your strengths so both you and your team can succeed. A strengths-based approach to management will lead to:

  • better conversations
  • stronger partnerships
  • higher team engagement
  • greater collaboration

For manager-specific insights and strategies, check out your CliftonStrengths for Managers report and explore your top 10 themes and how you can use them to reach your goals.

Managing Team Members With Strong Competition Talents

Discovering the collective talents of your team using the CliftonStrengths assessment is just the first step.

To successfully manage or lead others, you must individualize your approach. You must understand what makes each of your team members unique. And you must lead meaningful conversations about performance that focus on what each person naturally does best.

An Example of Managing Team Members With Competition

Create daily measures of success for employees with high Competition talents and the teams they are involved with. Help them identify what it takes to win consistently in their roles.

Use the CliftonStrengths Assessment to Discover More About Competition

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How Strong Are Your Competition Talents?

Purchase CliftonStrengths 34 to reveal your complete unique talent profile and learn just how strong your Competition talents are. You'll get personalized insights into your CliftonStrengths results and ideas for maximizing your potential.

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How to Work With Others With Strong Competition Talents

Gallup offers resources and products you can use to help others succeed by developing their Competition theme and all their CliftonStrengths.