Gini Dietrich

Competitive Leader: Does It Mean You’re Not a Team Player?

By: Gini Dietrich | May 17, 2010 | 

I’m not a team player. Yes, I will repeat myself. I am not a team player. A cycling buddy of mine convinced me to train on the velodrome track every Friday. So I do. And it is F-U-N! I mean, serious fun. Talk about a rush of adrenaline! You don’t have to worry about lights or tourists stopping to look at the tall buildings or joggers turning around without looking behind them or baby geese crossing the path. All you have to worry about is not getting dizzy from going around in circles so fast.

This past Friday, we did mock racing. Our coach put us in teams and I was on the team that was the rabbit…meaning the other teams had to try to catch us. Super cool and a little nerve wrecking. I’m competitive enough that there is no way anyone was going to catch me…I mean us. The idea is that you work as a team to stay ahead of the other teams, which my partner did very well. But when it was my turn to pace, I was out for blood. I could see a third head coming up in the shadow and I dropped my teammate like a hot potato trying to stay ahead. It was not good and Coach reprimanded me (but the third head didn’t catch me!).

And it made me wonder…if I’m so competitive, am I really not a good team player at work either?

This reminds me of a story involving my brother’s kids. When my niece was three or four, we were playing Apples to Apples and I was teaching her how to win. Not thinking anything more of it (after letting her win a few rounds), I flew home. A few days later my sister-in-law called and said, “I need you to hear something.” In the background, I hear my niece yelling to her sister, “I WIN! YOU LOSE!” My sister-in-law got back on the phone and said, “They are playing Apples to Apples. Where do you think she learned that?” Who? ME??

I told my mom about my velodrome racing and that I learned I’m not a team player. She said, “Does that surprise you?” So now I’m doubly curious. Am I not a good team player at work?

How can one be a good leader and not a good team player? How can one want to win at almost any cost and not be a good team player? Can you be type A, competitive, AND be a great team player?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!