Work Environment - Workplace Culture Part 3

Workplace Culture Part 3 – Are Office Rivalries Healthy

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Can office rivalries have a positive effect on your work environment? Let’s look at some athletes to provide a little context.

Be it Nikki Lauda versus James Hunt or Muhammad Ali versus Joe Frazier, rivalries are a part of an athlete’s life. Formula One drivers, Lauda & Hunt were famous for their rivalry off and on the field which led to some of the greatest races the world has ever witnessed. Similarly, Ali & Frazier developed this fierce rivalry which ultimately led towards a boxing match in 1974 which was termed as the “Fight of the Century”. Rivalries have a tendency to bring the best out of athletes as so much is on the line and they’re willing to go beyond limits.

Can the same be said regarding office rivalries? This blog explores one of the major dilemmas regarding work environment on whether office rivalries are healthy or not?

Work Environment & the Presence of Rivalries:

One thing that you need to keep in mind is that work rivalry has a presence universally in all office spaces and there is no way around it. Rivalries are a natural thing and sooner or later you’re going to get employees that will be rivals and that can be a good thing. The important thing however is that the presence of rivalries doesn’t imply that they can always be good. In fact, office rivalries can get ugly and slow down productivity as well. Office rivalries then can be seen as two sides of a coin. One side can be amazing but one can be ugly.

The Ugly Side:

Pitting employees against each other will have consequences. The ugly side of office rivalries will always exist in a work environment simply because you’re trying too hard to create tension. Factors such as office politics and interference in each other’s matters make things even uglier and sometimes not even related to work. Willfully trying to create a competitive environment should be approached carefully and the wrong pokes should be avoided. Maybe the employees you’re pitting against each other are friends and in the end they might end up going against you.

The better approach in creating a healthy competitive environment is that you should let it foster and identify which candidates should be pitted against.

The Amazing Side:

When it comes to work environment competition there’s basically no end to it. When it comes to rivalries that competition can make the outcome more practical and worth it for your company. Office-based rivalries can be good for your company if the employees being pitted keep it professional. The truth is you can’t really do much about when a rivalry gets dirty. This mainly falls on the employees themselves and as long as the rivalry is regarding producing better work or task accomplishment then you’re on the right path. There can be plenty of benefits when it comes to a rivalry among two employees who don’t play dirty.

Productivity:

The productivity of the two employees can increase beyond their defined limits. They will test themselves to perform not only better but to come up with unorthodox ways to solve complex problems. Ultimately, your goal as a company is to increase productivity and a healthy rivalry exactly does that!

Reliability and Loyalty:

Putting employees against each other can offer insights on how a specific individual handles pressure. This process enables you to look for signs of reliability and can help you identify employees that are reliable. Also, employees that are involved in a rivalry should be loyal to the company and not play any dirty tricks. This might sound a little risky but in the end, you’ll find a loyal employee in your work environment.

Games & Activities:

The best way to build a competitive spirit among potential rivals is by engaging them in a friendly game. Of course, you need to build up this sense of rivalry and instill in them a competitive spirit. Mentally challenging games such as chess or something a little fun like darts can totally bring in that spirit and instill a sense of competitiveness.

Work Environment has plenty of factors that can make or break a business’s productivity. The fact is office rivalries can be risky at times because they’re highly dependent on the subject’s maturity level and how they approach it. However, if you moderate the rivalry then your business can potentially find a loyal soldier that you can always rely on.

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