We live in a competitive world where we are compared to others from the moment our birth, weight and length are documented. Executive Coach Iain Shippey says in the workplace, our competence and efforts are constantly measured in the mirror of accepted norms and the efforts and accomplishments of our fellow competitors.
“We need to learn the art of allowing healthy competition to harness our focus and efforts but not allow it to crush our spirit and distort the unique contribution we offer,” he says.
The benefits of competition
- It leads to higher levels of productivity. When more than one person is working towards the same goal, it pushes you to be ambitious and give it your all.
- Competition promotes efficiency. When employees are vying to impress management, it drives them to meet deadlines and deliver on their targets.
- It’s a catalyst for higher profits. Increased efficiency and productivity help increase the company’s net income.
Competition is unhealthy when:
- It results in perpetual stress. If you constantly feel tired, stressed or frazzled, it may be time to re-evaluate your approach to work.
- It leads to employees bringing others down. When colleagues start succeeding at the expense of others, it will have a negative impact on individual and collective morale.
- It breeds lack of trust. When employees become too competitive, they will do anything to get ahead, which often breeds mistrust and is detrimental to team spirit.
How to achieve a healthy level of competition:
Accept its presence
Competition is pervasive. No matter where your career leads you, there will be ample competition to keep you on your toes. Try to become comfortable and make peace with it.
Opt for an abundance mentality
Choose to have a generous heart and spirit. Don’t take the stance that if someone else succeeds, you are doomed to fail. Another individual’s promotion or good fortune, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be left out.
Compete with yourself first
Start by capturing your values and vision and get some trusted friends to help you re-evaluate your current skill set and value-add. Set some stretching goals for yourself and use these as your primary yardstick.
Create your own brand
Find a niche by creating value and building on this strength. Take control of your own career and find paths to showcase your talents. You’ll find that you’ll focus less on the paths of others when your work aligns with the best of what you have to offer.
Check your levels of toxicity
In the corporate race, there is a serious temptation to incubate envy and malice in our hearts towards others who are excelling or seem to be favoured. Stop often and take your ‘toxicity pulse’. Remember to be kind and fair to others.