Avoiding Unhealthy Competition in the Workplace

Posted by Mitzi Branvold | Friday, December 11, 2020

Avoiding Unhealthy Competition in the Workplace

Posted by Mitzi Branvold | Friday, December 11, 2020

Many people believe that in order to get ahead, you have to be competitive. This means proving to your customers that your product or service is better than your competitor’s. At times, people even go so far as to take certain steps that will harm their competitors, such as targeting their customers, buying up the raw materials they may need and corporate espionage.

Even within a certain office, you’ll often find a lot of competition, with one executive trying to outdo another executive and even teams which seem to work in competition with each other.

Healthy Competition

There are times when competition is healthy. If you enjoy the idea of trying to do better than the other person and they enjoy it too, then there’s nothing wrong with it. If you’re ok with winning some battles and losing others, then you know you have the right attitude towards competition.

Unhealthy Competition

Often, competition doesn’t is not healthy. People get upset when the other person beats them and they feel like they have to come up with newer (and sometimes underhanded) ways of doing their job. They might end up working too much overtime and upsetting their work-life balance. They might end up getting taciturn or overly aggressive towards the people they’re working with. They might start holding grudges against the company itself for pitting people against each other.

Competition Is Everywhere

Unfortunately, competition is a fact of life and something we have to live with everywhere we go. Even when parents raise two siblings, you’ll often find there is a certain degree of competition between them. It starts when they’re trying to get the parents’ attention in childhood and often continues into adulthood when they’re constantly trying to one-up each other. At times, competition even exists between spouses, friends, colleagues, fellow students etc.

Competition vs. Accomplishment

How do you prevent this competition from getting to an ugly stage? How do you prevent it from affecting work relationships? How do you prevent it from eating you up inside? The answer is to focus on accomplishment rather than competition.

Focusing on Accomplishments

Define your self-worth and the worth of your company by what you have accomplished rather than how well you’re doing in comparison with others. Sit down right now, if you can, and make a list of all the things you’ve accomplished today. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ve gotten done. Similarly, consider how much you’ve accomplished in the career path you’ve chosen. Sit down and write about this too, if it helps you. You may be surprised by how much you’ve actually managed to do.

In this way, if you ever find yourself getting overly competitive, envious or resentful, remind yourself of everything you’ve accomplished and you’ll find that that feeling of competition will go away.