Competition Kills Encouragement

By Cindy Vallance

The title of this blog comes directly from Nancy Kline’s book “Time to Think” in which she outlines the fifth of the ten principles needed to build a thinking environment. ENCOURAGEMENT is a powerful tool. Encouragement provides a rich field for acknowledging interdependencies and for celebrating successes. Its opposite, competition, pits people and ideas against each other in a never-ending battle to be the ‘best.’ However, competition often only results in ‘better than’ not ‘best” and this result really may not be very good at all.

Competition is one of the qualities that prevents us from asking the questions that should be asked and that no one wants to ask. Encouragement, on the other hand, sets us up to find good ideas together.

How much encouragement do we give to others to share their ideas? How excited do we get about their ideas? Do we listen without competition, without turning away, without interrupting, without shaking our head or rolling our eyes?

Encouragement is the scaffolding, the support structure, that helps new and creative ideas to develop. These ideas can then be implemented for the benefit of all of those who are daring enough to think together.

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