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How to Deal with Workplace Competition

written by: Daniel Brecht•edited by: Linda Richter•updated: 5/17/2011

Diversity in the workplace sometimes mean competition among co-workers. When employees don't know how to deal with such circumstances, it can harm working relationships and damage morale and work productivity. To know more about what can be done about it, keep reading.

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    About Workplace Competition

    Corporate People (by photostock) It appears to be less teamwork these days as it seems everyone is just out for themselves in the workplace now. Has the economic crisis affected how people deal with job competition at the workplace? Possibly. During this difficult time, the economy has not created more jobs; in fact, it has created less jobs and fewer opportunities to excel at work.

    Nowadays, the dominant work culture is exactly that: competitiveness. For many employees, the workplace is not a stress-free work environment. They deal with competitive people on the job each day who look forward to out-due other co-workers for the purpose of looking good in the eyes of the company boss (see image to the right). These people are after something: a better position or to ensure they will not be the one laid off. What does this say about equal opportunity?

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    Why Is There Workplace Competition?

    Presently, competition has intensified for employees. Each one of them is in search of receiving something in return--from being promoted or recognized by superiors (a supervisor, manager, or boss) for their job accomplishments, to having the highest performance evaluations, an increase in salary or wages, or being reassigned a newer and better position. Those are just a few things that motivate employees.

    Several employers will even give their employees awards or performance bonuses to recognize good workers; this too, will cause job competition in the workplace. It is like a win-lose contest! This, however, may result in workers not really focusing on their own work but on that of their competition. And, for this reason, it has affected morale and work satisfaction.

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    Handling Workplace Competition

    Competition is healthy to a point as it can boost productivity at work, but at times it can also be unhealthy as it can corrupt business relationships. People tend to feel jealous and insecure about themselves, their capabilities and the job. What these people need is encouragement!

    To deal with a competitive workplace requires self-confidence. A person must get over feeling jealous and insecure and start being competitive like everyone else. Or, he must understand and accept the fact there is competitiveness at work.

    Here's some advice: If you are not a competitor, then, prove to yourself, your co-workers, and your employer that you are a team player, not a selfish competitor who is only out looking for his own interests.

    Employees must have the initiative to take full advantage of a competitive situation. Everyone has a right to be competitive. Rather than getting upset and taking competition too seriously, why not try to learn about each other, communicate, and work together (to be a team player) so both can become winners for the company.

    In short, it is team building that improves a business's effectiveness, not competition. The idea is that, together, co-workers can achieve objectives.

    Tips:

    • If you are not a competitor already, don't become one. It takes a lot out of person when dealing and handling the competition.
    • If you are a competitor, be flexible but be able to stand up to the challenge.
    • Always know who your actual competition is.
    • Always know how strong the competition is.

    Advice: Learn to deal with workplace competition or you will be stressed at work. That will likely affect your attitudes and behaviors at work.

    Conclusion:

    To sum it all up, "Competition in the workplace is a double-edged sword. Used correctly, you can get results; used ruthlessly, you can kill morale." [1]

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    Source and References Section

    [1] Fries, Amy. Let Workplace Competition Motivate You pm AchieveSolutions.net - https://www.achievesolutions.net/achievesolutions/en/myachieve/Content.do?contentId=18211

    • Conflict Resolution on Mindtools.com - http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_81.htm
    • Joshi, Neha. How to Improve Communication in the Workplace on Buzzle.com - http://www.buzzle.com/articles/how-to-improve-communication-in-the-workplace.html

    Image credit: Corporate People (by photostock)