The Human Synergistics Life Styles Inventory™ (LSI) is one of the most effective 360 degree tools you can use when it comes to gaining insights about leadership behaviour and when coaching for higher performance. It measures the prevalence of 12 different behaviour styles that we all use to varying degrees.

One of those behaviours is the competitive behaviour style.

“The competitive style is based on a need to protect one’s status by comparing one’s self to others, outperforming them and never appearing to lose. People high in this style seek recognition and praise from others, view even non-competitive situations as contests or challenges to “prove” themselves and try to maintain a sense of superiority.” – (sourced from

There are many reasons the people I coach tell me they would like to reduce their reliance on this behaviour style:

“To have happier staff”, “To acknowledge other peoples efforts”, “To encourage others” and “To empower others to do things” are good examples.

Equally, the same people can give me reasons that they feel pressure to use the competitive behaviour style.

“To be the best I can be”, “Get better solutions”, “Have personal satisfaction” and “to get a sense of achievement” are the perceived benefits.

When asked what they would have if they could achieve all of these benefits the answer is usually “Great Leadership” or “Great results”.

The trouble is, when using competitive behaviour brings perceived benefits and not using the competitive behaviour also brings perceived benefits we tend to swing backwards and forwards between the two depending on the circumstances. This inconsistency causes a compromise that is often seen as inauthentic, reactive and often ineffective … the very opposite to the traits of a great leader.

Fortunately there is a solution. It requires a careful look at the perceived benefits of using the competitive behaviour style and looking to see if those benefits can be achieved in a different way. The question becomes how can I “be the best I can be”, “get better thought out solutions”, “have personal satisfaction” and “get a sense of achievement” without using the competitive behaviour style?

When my client’s answer this question for themselves it often creates an insight or an ‘aha’ moment that has incredible power for them. It is this question and their personal answer that begins their journey of real change.

Will you share your insight into this question? I invite you to Leave a Reply.

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