Office competition can be a double-edged sword. Handled properly, it can be an effective motivator and deliver outstanding results. Approached ruthlessly, it can be a source of demoralization and disgruntlement. An admin assistant may resort to devious means to outdo her peer. A finance analyst may try to inflate figures just to beat the others in his department. Even those who have held temporary jobs in Singapore have probably experienced office competitions getting out of hand.
When your boss decides to hold a competition among you and your peers, it’s important that you approach the exercise with an open mind and a positive attitude. This means not just bringing your “A” game, but also giving importance to the value of fair play.
Compete against yourself, not the others.
Don’t think of office competition as a “me-against-them” affair. Don’t try to second-guess what the others are cooking up. Just go out and do your best. Recall your biggest accomplishment, and use that as the yardstick against which you should measure your effort. This is what being your own biggest competition is about. You try to outdo yourself, not your opponents.
Keep the competition friendly.
Stay cordial with your officemates throughout the competition. Enjoy lunch and coffee with them as you always do. You can talk about the competition if you like, and even engage in friendly trash talking, but be sure to keep it just that, friendly. Good-natured jibes can actually create a more relaxed atmosphere and keep the competition in its proper perspective.
Win or lose, be gracious.
When the outcome of an office competition is a matter of judgment (as opposed to something quantifiable like sales figures), there’s bound to be some grumbling when the winner is announced. Don’t allow yourself to be part of that. If you lose, accept the decision graciously. Congratulate the winner and learn from the experience. If you win, stay humble and acknowledge the work that everyone else put in.
Remember that you’re still on the same team.
Unlike competition with other companies, competitions within a company are by nature temporary. You have to keep in mind that whatever the outcome, you’re still teammates. If you lose, give your full support to the winner. Let him know that whatever additional work has to be done, you’ll be ready to help. If you win, let your teammates know that you’ll welcome any ideas that will enhance your work. This will tell them that you want them to take part in your success.
Competition, they say, can bring out the best and the worst in us. When you push out the negative and let your office competition bring out the best in you, you’ll earn the respect of both your boss and your peers. That’s definitely the best prize you can win.