Researchers from Chicago, Denmark and Zurich have recently been studying the impact of individual success on teams by looking at the WWII German Luftwaffe of Herman Goering. Unsurprisingly it was a highly competitive environment and some individuals were hugely successful such as Hans-Joachim Marseille who downed 158 Allied aircraft before he died in an accident in September 1942. Apparently when an ace was identified and mentioned in dispatches the rest of the airman got more aggressive which resulted in a 50% increase in their kill rate from an average of 0.8 to 1.2 per month and an increase in their being killed rate from 2.7% to 4% per month.
These statistics however mask the fact that the most skillful airmen were generally the ones doing the killing and the least successful were those being killed.
So, it's probably a good idea to operate a highly competitive environment in the workplace provided skill levels are high, without that then it's pretty much suicidal!
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