Competition is inevitable in the workplace. As long as two or more individuals or groups need to work together to achieve a common goal, rivalry will likely occur. Whilst competition has positive effects, such as quality assurance, innovation, and business growth, it can also slow down an organisation and lead to inefficiencies. It can either spur workers to push each other to exceed their normal limits at individual or group levels, leading to increased productivity, or it can cause major conflicts between workers, creating unnecessary stress and reducing productivity in the long run.
Here are 7 tips for managing competition among colleagues in the workplace:
- Accept reality of competition: Competition is present in every workplace, as in most areas of life. This is something every individual must know and take into consideration. Accepting this fact makes it easy to handle the attendant pressures. Some employees actually thrive better when they find the workplace competitive.
- Promote positive outlook: It is important to promote a positive outlook among employees – that for one to be successful, s/he must extend a hand of help to others. If one person succeeds, it doesn’t make others failures; it only shows that success is attainable. When you have a positive outlook, competition will be less of a personal issue. It becomes clear that is more about getting the job done.
- Acknowledge individual strengths: If you are the employer/team leader, it is possible for you to foster healthy competition. Observe the strengths and weaknesses of workers. Make a list of things each worker has to improve on. Identify opportunities for growth and get employees on relevant projects to help them grow in their areas of weakness and shine in their areas of strength.
- Positive network: With the lists created, workers should be placed in groups that have what they lack and can provide necessary tools needed for improvement. This way, a synergy is being created; in place of unhealthy competition, the group can working together to further push the objectives of the business.
- Embrace mentoring programmes: Get good mentors for your employees; mentors who will share practical ideas and tools for improved talent performance. Workers should be encouraged to give their best to learning and carrying out their duties. With the right, enabling environment for learning, everyone gets a chance to grow in their career path.
- Set SMART goals; reward excellence: Set out goals/tasks for workers, as an employer, and ensure these goals are SMART. After supporting your team members in setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound goals, reward excellent performance and delivery in order to inspire other team members to do better next time.
- Assess capabilities regularly: Periodic assessment of employees helps to drive a consciousness for continuous growth and learning in the workplace. Tests should be creative and measure each team member’s rate of improvement within an interval.
When there is healthy competition in the workplace, team members strive to be the best that they can be whilst also supporting others to grow. Competition must be managed in such a way that it benefits everyone in the workplace.