Teamwork is one of the biggest common goals employees and employers in most workplaces share. However, competition sometimes gets heated as employees feel the psychological and social pressure to perform better than our peers at work. Almost everyone wants to be the one to really impress their supervisors and maybe land a promotion or other desirable change.
As an employer, you are generally expected to want your employees to work well as a team. So, how do you keep the teamwork dynamic strong while encouraging a little bit of competition? If you are feeling stuck, give the following five ideas some consideration and adapt them as needed to fit your unique work environment.
- Coach Healthy Conflict and Conflict Resolution Skills
Jealousy is a widely-experienced human emotion that often occurs when there is some sort of competitive conflict. Of course, jealousy can result in petty actions and attitudes, so it is important that, as an employer looking for healthy competition among employees, you coach healthy conflict and conflict resolution skills in the workplace.
Work is done best when co-workers stop negative comparing themselves to one another. By simply dividing employees up into smaller teams and having them compete to meet a company goal within a certain amount of time, you can create camaraderie by turning work into a game. Before you do this, however, you should hold a team training on conflict resolution so that employees can negate tensions among themselves easily and effectively without any pettiness.
- Place Emphasis on Individuality and Creativity
Humans do not function in the same way that robots do. We are not machines and cannot be expected to work like they do. Who is going to want to engage in healthy competition when they feel that they are simply a cog in the machine? Employers can expect better input and output from employees whose individuality and creativity are honored. Additionally, employees will likely feel more inclined to participate in healthy competition when they feel that their talents and uniqueness are valuable assets to the company.
- Provide Constructive Feedback
Constructive feedback from an employer to the employee is absolutely essential in encouraging teamwork through healthy competition. How is an employee supposed to inherently know that they are meeting or exceeding expectations from their management?
Negative feedback is not helpful and can destroy an employee’s will to perform. Empty praise is likewise ineffective since it offers no suggestions for continued improvement or incentives to do better. Constructive feedback provides a healthy balance of critique and encouragement in a structured, future goal-oriented manner.
- Keep Competition Fun
Companies like Google are now finding that their employees perform better at work if they are allowed to take time out to have fun by playing sports or video games. Allowing a brief 10-15 minute game of foosball or a round of poker (with snacks instead of chips) can actually go a long way in boosting employee morale and keeping competition among employees healthy and engaging.
- Keep Raising the Bar by Setting Stretch Goals
Competition is not just about outperforming a co-worker; it is about improving employee performance on an individual way. Basically, this means that the employee does their best to outperform their previous performances. Encourage your employees to improve their individual performances by setting stretch goals that keep raising the bar. Achieving better performance rates at work by setting incremental goals helps to keep healthy competition a long-term facet of the work environment. When an employee is doing well at meeting their goals, they are better equipped to encourage and help their fellow co-workers meet their goals and the company meet its overarching goals. Another way to help with raising the bar is to involve gamification in the workplace so that your employees can see their feedback.