In my early sales career, I experienced what now has the fancy title of CIL – Competition Inducing Leadership.
Basically, it’s where a sales leader creates an environment of competition among their employees.
Good idea or bad idea?
For those who know me, they would tell you that I’m quite a competitive character … especially in sport.
However, in business, I’m not inspired to succeed based on beating my peers. I’m inspired to succeed based on my own intrinsic motivational criteria including:
- Succeeding through values-aligned marketing and sales activity
- Succeeding through personal growth and learning
- Succeeding through making a positive difference to my clients’ lives
- Succeeding through personal goal achievement
My experience with CIL was it was demotivating, exhausting and a source of overwhelm … and the research suggests I am not alone.
CIL can certainly be a motivator for salespeople who are driven by extrinsic motivators (for example pay, ego boosts based on others’ opinions [yes … that’s an external motivator, not an intrinsic one], and the drive to beat others).
However, while CIL can benefit some salespeople, for others it can result in exhaustion and underperformance.
If you’re a sales leader, tread carefully if you’re practicing CIL.
Maximilian Friess, Sascha Alavi, Johannes Habel & Bianca Richter (2023) When sales leaders induce competition among sales employees: a source of motivation or exhaustion?, Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management