How To Make Competition Healthy In The Workplace

10 November of 2014

Not all people will agree that competition in the workplace is healthy, but it can in fact be healthy and productive with your team. It can increase testosterone, motivation and endorphins to boost staff morale. It is important to understand how to enforce competition in a positive way. There are two types of competition; direct and cooperative.

Direct competition can be very destructive, it is between two people and there is always one winner and one loser. Even though competition is proven to be healthy within the workplace, it can also have many negative effects, therefore it is very important that you get the balance right for your company and staff. Too much competition within the workplace can lead to anger hard feelings, hostility and even lower productivity. As a manager you must monitor this closely to make sure that it is friendly competition between colleagues.

However, cooperation competition is normally set within a team for you all to focus towards a particular goal, this means working together and becoming successful as a team. Producing feelings like pleasure, motivation, companionship, improving friendships and work bonding.

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Here are some advantages of using competition in the workplace and more importantly how to make it healthy competition that can benefit your employees!

1. Productivity

Competition between employees can breed productivity in the workplace, obviously depending on what industry you are in. The presence of opponents will naturally push employees to work hard, focus on goals and sales targets. You can encourage this type of behaviours with rewards, such as promotions, salary increase, days in lieu, commission and many other ways. This healthy competition can boost morale and focus employees to achieve targets.

2. Cooperative Competition

This type of competition can be extremely helpful, by the sharing of ideas and support of other, some employees blossom and grow within the team. A team with good dynamics will push each other so all members improve and contribute something significant so they can win. Again this can improve work relationships no end, not only in work but out of work too.

3. Profits

Naturally, higher productivity and efficiency will help increase the company’s net income. However, higher profits may not always mean that your company is in a good position. Higher profits brought by destructive competition will hurt your company’s future. As the manager, you might want to focus on creating a healthy and friendly kind of competition that will have a positive impact on your employees.

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Whilst it seems there are many advantages there are in fact a lot of disadvantages too, and if you don’t seem to get the balance right for your staff there can be disastrous consequences.

1. Stress

Whilst healthy competition can increase productivity it can also have a large effect on stress! Especially if a member of staff is not performing well they may start to feel more and more pressure, eventually this can have negative effects on your company because if you have stress un-happy employees it will lead to lack of concentration and inefficiency = lower productivity!

2. Team Spirit

The lack of a team spirit within a company is very counter-productive because employees end up working on individual goals in order to better themselves and their position instead of a common one for the company as a whole. You must take into consideration that some employees just aren’t emotionally tough enough for this type of in-house competition, it can bring out the selfish side in everybody and that cause an awkward and unfriendly atmosphere to work in.

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3. Trust Issues

In an environment that nurtures unhealthy competition, trust is always a problem, or more the lack of it! The lack of trust in a workplace could be detrimental to a company because it undermines effective communication amongst employees, which is necessary for a business to thrive and flourish. So long as competition within the workplace is kept healthy, it will be beneficial for the company. Healthy competition invokes employees to be productive and efficient, while fostering camaraderie amongst them.

As the manager or business owner, it is up to you to use motivational practises (i.e. giving out regular engraved glass awards, giving out words of praise as well as items they can keep on their desk is important) or creating incentive packages (i.e. income increase, additional benefits) to encourage your employees to always give their best in the workplace while still maintaining a good relationship with their co-workers.


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