How to be competitive at work – getting the balance right

There’s nothing like a healthy dose of competition to fuel business success. It motivates individuals and teams to keep striving for improvement and to achieve their goals. But when does the competitive spirit tip over to the dark side?


When competition becomes the goal rather than the means to the goal, our work relationships, stress, morale and outcomes can all suffer. So claims in a recent article. It has published many useful tips on how to navigate the dangers of becoming too competitive while also enjoying all the advantages. If you don’t have time for the full read, here’s a quick summary of its advice on the subject:


  1. Compete with yourself instead of your colleagues. Commit to improving your personal job performance rather than trying to outperform your teammates.
  2. When competitive situations arise, engage with colleagues in the spirit of trying to understand their situation and motivation. Your goal is to discover how you can work better together, rather than working against each other, and then make it happen.
  3. Compete as a team, rather than on an individual basis. Use cooperative competition to drive productivity forward, working together to achieve your common goals while also respecting each person’s individual contribution. This necessitates getting to know your coworkers, recognising their strengths and deliberately developing a sense of camaraderie at work.
  4. Make contributing to your company’s success one of your personal goals. Work for a job well done and for the shared sense of accomplishment with your co-workers.


The next time your competitive streak looms too large, we hope that the above tips will help you to reign it in so that you can enjoy the benefits without risking the pitfalls.


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