In the marketplace, competition is a natural tendency, and the “every man for himself” mentality emerges.
Although competition fosters quick thinking, critical problem solving, and ambition, it can be detrimental when this external competition begins to internalize. But, it’s necessary and vital in the business world between competitive companies. However, as manager, you must be aware of when this combative attitude begins to interfere with your internal collaboration.
Studies have shown that employees who know they’re competing with their peers become discouraged easily and perform below their ability level. Along with this downside, competition can also deter employees’ motives. For instance, your team members may be devoting their time, and ultimately your money, to outshining their peers… not finding the best possible solution for the project at hand. So, as a boss or leader, how can you encourage the ambition that comes with competition, while also fostering a collaborative environment? Here are some tips that may help you find that balance:
- They will collaborate when they are informed on how well they work with others. Once they know their level of involvement and how they best communicate, this encourages increased correspondence and cooperation.
- Accept the competitive presence. Instead of trying to stifle it, praise individuals on their work when it contributes to the team as a unit. When competitive minds are able to collaborate, innovative results begin to emerge.
- Be the “link” between your different departments or functions. As the leader, it is your responsibility to develop in-depth relationships with your employees. By creating an open and connected environment between the different sectors of your business, you are encouraging collaboration, which will provide a well-rounded approach to workplace problems.
There is a time and a place for competition within the workplace; however, you must be aware of when this aggressive mindset begins to erode the team mentality. Competition keeps employees alert and focused, however too much can leave your team segregated and weak. It’s up to you to figure out the healthy balance for your company.