How to Overcome Your Competitiveness at Work
Perhaps you want to be the leader on the next project or have the boss recognise your hard work. Or maybe there’s just somebody on your team who rubs you up the wrong way. No matter your reason for feeling competitive, you need to shut down these instincts if you want to be successful in the workplace. Several studies have shown that when workers face anxiety over competition at work, they are less likely to be creative in their attempts to solve problems and instead behave unethically.
For some of us, there may not be a defined competition at work which motivates us to compete with colleagues, but rather the need to beat someone at something. This is unhealthy for us, and this competitiveness needs to be stamped out.
Please keep reading to learn more about competitiveness at work and why you need to stop these behaviours. Competitiveness can be detrimental to our mental health, leading to anxiety and depression if we feel like we have failed. If you let the idea of a competition overcome you, then you could spiral into much worse mental health disorders.
Before we bash competition at work, there are some positives to having a healthy competition between workers. Leaders who invest energy into generating excitement in rewards for good work or competition (such as recognition, an employee of the month reward, etc.) may see improved performance from their workers. Though, the bosses who single out workers they deem ‘low’ or ‘failing’, can negatively affect the whole team.
Competition at work can also benefit team building. Rather than having workers pitted against one another, leaders can ask two teams to come up with creative solutions or ideas for clients. By asking people to work together, better ideas can flow, which benefits everybody and not just the individual.
Decide to Change
Unfortunately, too much unhealthy competition in the workplace can be overwhelming and harmful to our mental health. Perhaps it’s a mindset you have that you feel like you can’t scrap for good. But the first step in overcoming your competitiveness is to acknowledge this nature within you and decide to change.
Making a declaration that you will alter your behaviour is necessary for sticking through with your dedication. Instead of letting your competitive nature ruin work relationships and mental health, use it to be the best version of yourself. As Monica would say from Friends, competing against yourself is the best form of competition. Decide to be better than the old versions of you which would do anything to be on top.
A great way to overcome your competitiveness is to celebrate the accomplishments and successes of others. When we compete, it’s often all about us as we have blinkers on and can’t see past what matters for our goals.
By opening your eyes to the success of others, and seeing this as a positive for them and the team, you can start to let go of your competitive nature a little bit. When you root for others to accomplish their dreams, meet targets or get that promotion, you start to care less about yourself and more about others, which is hugely beneficial for your mental health and happiness. In return, you can expect the same level of cheerleading support from your colleagues when you are facing a challenge!
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Mental health disorders like depression and anxiety are begging for you to compare yourself to others. They feed off this insecurity and trap you in a constant cycle of doubting yourself and feeling unworthy. This can be enhanced at work where you see others succeed and feel like a failure. These feelings then motivate you to be overly competitive at work to mirror the success you see others making.
Rather than letting these feelings be the reason you push yourself at work, you need to push them aside and work hard because you want to, not because you feel you have to. There is no way to win if you compare yourself to others as you’ll always feel subpar.
Similar to stopping comparing yourself to others, learning to love yourself for who you are is essential for overcoming competitiveness at work. By realising you can only do your best and that everyone else’s accomplishments may be different to yours, you can let go of stress, anxiety and depression.
Focus on bringing out the qualities which make you an incredible human being and a great worker. One recent study by Bentley University found that 84% of business leaders believe integrity is the most essential quality in an employee. If you are seen to only care about the praise or promotion, pushing colleagues aside to gain these, then your bosses won’t approve of this.
Check out my website to learn more about my services as a therapist and how I can help your mental health journey. Often, underlying mental health disorders like anxiety and depression can fuel your need to compete at work, making it harder to overcome this behaviour. If you feel like you need extra support or are facing underlying mental health issues, then get in contact with me today.