Monday, June 20th, 2016
Leading peers can be tricky since you’re simultaneously cooperating with and competing against them. For example, athletes on the same team contend for a limited number of positions in the starting lineup, yet compete together on game day. Musicians within an orchestra vie for the first chair, but then harmonize their talents to delight audiences with their music. Coworkers jockey for prestigious assignments but afterwards combine their skills to advance the mission of the organization.
Healthy work environments depend on competition and cooperation. Both are necessary in order to win. Either too much competition or a deficiency of it can damage team dynamics. In an overly competitive work culture, the natural antagonism of competition turns teammates into enemies and deters cooperation. Conversely, in an environment absent of competition, the aversion to conflict snuffs out critical thinking and stifles initiative.
Arriving at suitable levels of competitiveness at work begins by acknowledging that competition has benefits and drawbacks. To have the most influence with your peers, put completing fellow leaders ahead of competing against them. Endeavor to make your teammates better instead of trying to prove that you’re the best. If you spend time adding value to peers, you’ll eventually become very valuable to them.
Switch your standard of comparison. We tend to compare ourselves to other people, when we should compare ourselves to our potential. Reevaluate your definition of success and failure. First, resist the temptation to define yourself by wins and losses. We can only control the effort we put in, not the outcomes we experience. Second, move from an individual to collective notion of accomplishment. Rather than being solely preoccupied with personal advancement, learn to see success as helping others to victory.
Adopt an abundance mindset. There are many lanes on the highway to success. Search for win-win partnerships with fellow coworkers in which you both stand to gain something valuable. Sharing resources or lending assistance to others enriches rather than impoverishes you.
Summing-up: The more we develop an abundance mentality, the more we are genuinely happy for the successes, well-being, achievements, recognition, and good fortune of other people. We believe their success adds to…rather than detracts from…our lives.