Leadership: The Benefits of Being Competitive

Kim Martin
2 min readJan 18, 2024


This morning, I was in a spin class, pushing myself to give it my all. The instructor encourages everyone to wear a heart rate monitor because she posts each person’s numbers on a large screen for all class participants to see. Her goal is to motivate us with a little healthy competition and, being the competitive person I am, it works for me.

Believe it or not, I credit my competitiveness as a driving force behind my success as a leader. While the term “competitive” may evoke images of cutthroat environments, a healthy sense of competition can bring numerous benefits to leaders and their teams. In fact, it’s a tactic of some employers to specifically target prospective hires who have a background in team sports, recognizing the value of a competitive mindset. Wherever your sense of healthy competition comes from, it’s a powerful asset when it comes to driving personal and professional success.

By embracing my competitiveness as a leader, I’ve gained:

1. Continuous Improvement

The pursuit of excellence pushes leaders to constantly seek ways to improve themselves and their teams. It fosters a culture of continuous learning, innovation, and adaptability. A competitive leader views challenges not as obstacles but as opportunities for growth and development.

2. Inspiration and Motivation

A competitive leader serves as a source of inspiration for their team. The drive to outperform competitors and achieve goals creates motivation among team members. This shared sense of purpose can lead to higher morale, increased productivity, and a more cohesive work environment.

3. Resilience

A competitive leader is no stranger to setbacks and challenges. Instead of succumbing to adversity, they thrive on it. The resilience developed through competition allows leaders to bounce back from failures, learn from mistakes, and emerge stronger. This resilience can be contagious, inspiring a similar attitude within the team.

4. Innovation

Leaders who embrace competition also encourage their teams to think creatively, explore new ideas, and challenge the status quo. The drive to stay ahead stimulates a culture where innovation is valued and becomes a key driver of success.

5. Building a High-Performance Team

A competitive leader attracts and cultivates high-performing individuals. The desire to be the best resonates with like-minded professionals committed to excellence. As a result, a competitive leader assembles a team that shares a common goal, pushing each other to surpass expectations and achieve collective success.

My experience and belief is that a competitive spirit propels leaders to strive for greatness and inspire their teams. Embracing competition fosters innovation, resilience, and a continuous pursuit of excellence, ultimately creating a culture of success. As leaders navigate the ever-evolving business landscape, a healthy sense of competitiveness is essential for sustained growth and achievement.



Kim Martin

A thought leader in the areas of executive leadership, change management, and women in the C-suite.