6 Ways to Cultivate Healthy Competition in the Workplace


August 22, 2016

motocross competition


Healthy competition among coworkers breeds excellence—here’s how to cultivate it in your workplace.


Building a healthy, competitive work environment can increase innovation, efficiency, and companionship. However, competition that becomes too cut-throat can be detrimental to your company’s success. Learn how to strike this delicate balance and encourage healthy, team-driven competition among your employees.


1. Pick the Right People


Hiring the right employee is difficult. There can be dozens — even hundreds — of applicants vying for a single position, and selecting the best one from this wide pool can be a challenge. Zero in on the applicants who seek out competition: they might be your greatest future employee.


Hiring the most competitive employee isn’t the goal here. Recruiters and hiring managers should avoid cut-throat applicants whose intensity might hinder staff collaboration. Instead, seek out qualified applicants who are both goal-oriented and likeable in order to foster a spirit of healthy competition in the workplace.


2. Establish Shared Goals


Don’t be afraid to challenge your employees to reach their full potential. Set concrete goals for your team to work towards for the company’s success. Holding monthly meetings that highlight exceptional employee performance—it may inspire employees to rise to the occasion and adopt a “Team First” mentality. Competition is good, but only if it’s helping the company reach its objectives.


3. Facilitate Feedback


Employees who welcome constructive criticism are going to be your best workers. One-on-one coaching or team-oriented training sessions will bring out the best in your employees and encourage them to challenge themselves.


Be ready and willing to receive feedback from your employees as well. Managers who are receptive to employee feedback demonstrate that they are as invested in working towards the company’s success as their charges, thereby personally contributing to the collaborative spirit they hope to foster.


4. Honor Individuality


You don’t want to hire robots. Workplaces that embrace differing employee perspectives encourage intellectual diversity, which can encourage innovation and actually contribute to a more cohesive vision for the company. Endeavor to tailor work tasks and projects towards employees’ particular strengths — play to their talents, and the entire company will be better for it.


5. Avoid Unnecessary Conflicts


Competition can be a good thing — in moderation. Concentrate on fueling competition only where the company can reap definitive rewards; for example, a monthly competition among the members of your sales team for the highest number of deals closed could have a concrete positive effect on your bottom line. But don’t make everything a battle — petty competition can hinder growth and fuel animosity between employees.


6. Have Fun


Encourage competition outside of the cubicle. Google supports friendly competition by allowing employees to take time away from work to play pool, foosball, and video games with coworkers. Additionally, work-sponsored outings that don’t have much — if anything — to do with work can encourage teamwork and collaboration and bring employees closer, all in the name of spirited (and lighthearted) competition. Many major corporations facilitate spirited competition in the form of obstacle courses, field days, and other organized team-building activities.


Competition drives success, but keeping it friendly can be a challenge. By implementing these guidelines, you can harness team-driven competition and take your business to new heights.


(Image credit: Pixabay)

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Author: Ken Sterling


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