by Saratoga College Virtual Internship Program participant Annie Rosencrans
A little competitive spirit in the workplace is usually a good thing. Competition can be highly motivating, and often promotes self-improvement and group camaraderie. That is unless of course competition begins to overwhelm your bigger picture. When your employees' desire to beat one another overshadows their motivation to succeed at their job, businesses become dysfunctional. This is where you come in: The change agent.
If you are a team manager struggling to build solidarity in the work place, here are a few things that you can do: First and foremost, lead by example. If you want your employees' attitudes to change, you must first change the way you think and behave. When addressing your team, use inclusive words like "We" instead of "I" and "You". Make sure that everyone takes ownership in your company's successes, and shares responsibility in its failures. Along those same lines, treat all of your employees as equals. If you're trying to tone down the competitiveness in the office, the worst thing that you can do is play favorites. This will only deepen the resentment in the office.
You might also consider taking more creative action for unifying your company. This doesn't require anything fancy - something as simple as organizing happy hours once every couple of months can release inter-worker tensions and build camaraderie. If you're not satisfied with your company atmosphere, you have to be the one to make the change. So don't settle on the status quo, and be the change agent that your company so desperately needs.