When it comes to work and to life, I believe cooperation wins over competition any day. Even so, a little competition or friendly rivalry can be a good thing, if you channel it right.
While unhealthy competition can derail focus, lead to discord, and – depending on perceived “winner” – result in either cockiness or in feelings of failure, truly healthy competition has multiple benefits:
- Healthy competition can push you to think more creatively, become more innovative, achieve bigger goals, and have a greater impact overall.
- Friendly comparison to a rival can help reveal your strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to build upon the foundation you already have.
- A positive competition can be a valuable learning experience, inspiring an increased commitment to learn more, do better, and go further.
So how do you keep competition in the workplace (or anywhere) healthy? Keep these three tips in mind:
- Don’t create unnecessary conflict. Not everything needs to be made into a competition. Instead, focus on identifying areas in which others excel and you can improve. Then, privately challenge yourself to reach or exceed their level of success.
- Avoid trying to win just so that someone else will lose. No matter how annoying that coworker is, one-upping them will never be as beneficial and as satisfying as you think it will. Instead of succeeding at their expense, find a way for you both to do well, without trampling each other’s achievements in the mud.
- Leverage your losses. If competition is a normal part of your life, no doubt you’ll find yourself on the “losing end” eventually. Instead of taking it personally and becoming defensive, antagonistic or discouraged, resolve to take every loss as a challenge for improvement.
When channeled correctly, healthy competition can be a powerful growth tool. Leverage it and make it a good thing in your life and workplace!