In all the spectrums of balance in a person's life, an important area to consider is the balance between being competitive and easy-going. Though you may be competitive in your tennis match, you may not be at all competitive on the yoga mat. You may compete at sports and not at work. You may compete for grades at school,l but not for a leadership role in your volunteer position. Each of us chooses how competitive we want to be and how comfortable we are with that level of competition. Some people live for the struggle of competition, while others feel stifled by it. Where do you fall in the spectrum of competitiveness, particularly in regards to work?
I am not a personally fan of the corporate politics that often accompany workplace competition. I'm up for the warm fuzzies in the office, pats on the back, team work and results. Others are driven by a unique desire to excel or live up to a standard they were accustomed to in a different organization. Good or bad, politics and competition heat up the work place dynamic.
Though I've often viewed competition in the office with disdain as it always seems to hold political overtones, I can see how other people's competitive moves sometimes drive me to raise the bar in my performance. Competition in the office, though a bit of an emotional struggle, can help us see ways we can be better at our jobs that we likely wouldn't have noticed otherwise, had we been in a warm, cozy existence. If we respond and kick our performance up a notch, while keeping the best interest of the team in mind, then we could all benefit as a group and help our companies. With some time, heat will pass, and we will be better employees. Though a little office competition can be good, it can go to another extreme where things grow so competitive that it causes severe burn out and sometimes unacceptable behavior for the office place, including raised voices, threats and cursing.
The ancient Greeks created the Olympic Games because they loved the trill of the struggle of competition. If the excitement of competition has been around for thousands of years, it can't be all bad. You only have to learn where the competitive bar is for you?
I've recalled times when I've been challenged to reevaluate where my bar is and made choices to be more competitive. Other times I decided the competitive battle was not one I wished to choose at that time. It's a bit unnatural feeling for me to consciously make a decision to be more competitive, but with time I'm adjusting, and it feels less awkward. As long as I'm being competitive to improve performance, then I don't have any issues raising the bar.
My bar stops when people get competitive to the point of pursuing a personal agenda, and undermining the goals of the team for personal gain. That level of competition is unethical and a complete waste of people's energy. Though the competition and the politics intertwined there within can be challenging, with a healthy perspective and attitude, we can all benefit from it a little. I encourage us all to push ourselves a little bit more than we thought we could because in today's economic and work environment, it can't hurt to sprint to the finish line. So, how competitive are you?