Executives Say Co-worker Competitiveness Has Increased in Last Decade

    More than one-third (38 per cent) of senior executives
    interviewed said they believe employees are more competitive with each other
    today than they were 10 years ago.

    The study was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by
    OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly
    skilled administrative professionals. The survey is based on telephone
    interviews with 100 senior executives from the largest companies in Canada.

    Executives were asked, “In your opinion, are employees more or less
    competitive with their coworkers than they were 10 years ago?”

    Their
    responses:

    Significantly more competitive……………… 9%

    Somewhat more competitive………………….. 29%

    No change………………………………… 22%

    Somewhat less competitive………………….. 28%

    Significantly less competitive……………… 8%

    Don’t know……………………………….. 4%

    “Regardless of economic conditions, people are concerned about job
    security and proving their worth to employers,” said Dave Willmer, executive
    director of OfficeTeam. “This pressure to perform may result in rivalries
    between employees.”

    Willmer added, “A bit of healthy competition among staff can increase
    motivation and productivity, but, just as in sports, the overall results of
    the team are what count. Too much intramural competition creates tension and
    stands in the way of collaboration.”

    OfficeTeam has identified five common “workplace competitors,” along with
    strategies for discouraging them from taking competition too far:

    – The Sprinter – This employee races to the finish on projects,
    sometimes overlooking the details. Commend him on his long-term view
    and enthusiasm, but encourage him to avoid cutting corners in the
    process.

    – The Weightlifter – This employee views her achievements in terms of
    quantity rather than quality, often taking on more projects than she
    can reasonably accomplish satisfactorily and on time. Offer to
    redistribute some of her work among others and encourage her to focus
    on doing a first-rate job rather than attempting to do too much at
    once.

    – The Gymnast – This person aims for perfection and tends to want to
    complete projects on her own. While her bends and flips may be
    impressive, you may have to diplomatically counsel her to channel her
    talents more toward team goals rather than spending her time on solo
    routines.

    – The Pole Vaulter – No challenge is too great for this employee, who
    lobbies to take on the highest-profile projects. While this can-do
    spirit is helpful, it’s important to not let this worker monopolize
    all of the most challenging assignments.

    – The Saboteur – This athlete is present in every sport. He’s the
    runner who trips others near the finish line, the soccer player who
    always gets the yellow card or the basketball player who is ejected
    for unsportsmanlike conduct. His struggle to get ahead at the expense
    of others ends up damaging his team’s chances. Explain to him the
    value of playing by the rules and focusing his energy on
    collaborating with colleagues rather than personal glory.