Friday, January 11, 2013

Rivalry in the Workplace

A bit of competitive rivalry in the workplace can be a good thing, particularly when it motivates the team as a whole to do its very best.But workplace rivalry that negatively impacts communication and collaboration can result in a lack of trust and respect and cause general discord among workers.

Rivalry can be more prevalent during periods of economic uncertainty or dramatic change in an industry or company, such as during a corporate restructuring. This is when workers are most apt to feel their jobs are in jeopardy and thus may feel increased pressure to prove their worth. Unfortunately, this can cause some workers to become downright cutthroat, leading to some unscrupulous tactics in the workplace.

Overall, competition in the workplace may be on the rise. According to a 2011 survey conducted by OfficeTeam, a global staffing services company, one thousand senior managers reported that they felt coworkers were more competitive with one another now compared to what they witnessed ten years ago. 

The best tactic for dealing with coworker rivalry is to rise above it, and here are a few tips for doing so:

  • Work hard and stay focused on doing quality work 
  • Demonstrate loyalty to the company, your manager, and teammates 
  • Be respectful of your coworkers, even those with different work styles and opinions 
  • Open yourself up to learning from others and hearing new ideas 
  • Foster teamwork and suggest ways for collaboration 
  • Identify and work toward common goals 

You may not have control over coworker rivalry; however, you can control your own response and attitude toward it.  Set a good example for others and maintain a professional reputation that you can be proud of and others will respect.

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