Tap to Read ➤

How to Handle the Pressure of Workplace Competition

Mukta Gaikwad
Competition can bring out the best in us. However, when it pushes us over the edge, it can take a serious toll on our mental and physical well-being. Thus, it is imperative to know how to handle workplace competition, which is absolutely unavoidable.
"When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure." ~ Peter Marshall
Most of us dedicate a considerable part of our lives towards building a career. We invest several years in specialized training courses, internships, and gaining worthwhile experiences.
Finding this path to the career of our dreams is a moment of a heartfelt celebration. It is an answer to those nights of burning the midnight oil and sacrificing acts of joyful whimsy for taking on the careful plans of tomorrow.
Unfortunately, this joy of getting a job is short-lived for many, as handling the pressure of a workplace competition becomes another job! An office environment poses its own set of challenges.
It puts forth a task of a new type of limited, but a serious cut-throat competition. It throws you in a sea of talent to swim your way through the difficult currents and rise against the storm. The grueling pressure of the workplace can lead to undesired stress, anger, and resentments.
The trick to being successful at focusing on your career, is to handle the pressure of workplace competition. The important point of dealing with this kind of pressure is understanding your feelings and re-adjusting your expectations.
Once you can prioritize your expectations from yourself, a lot of unwanted pressure will fall into place. Here we will tells you how to actually deal with competition in a workplace by understanding the nature of your competitors and your expectations.
Competition is Unavoidable
Presence of competition challenges us to bring out the best in us.
No matter how old we get or what professions we pursue, the existence of competition is ubiquitous. Thus, it is important to accept that no matter how good you are at your work, competition is going to be an integral part of your work.
A lot of factors contribute to the competition at the workplace. For instance, domestic pressures, uncertain economy, lack of job security, and individual temperaments. Instead of dodging the competition, accept it and deal with it constructively.
Who Are Your Competitors?
Every workplace has designated roles for its employees. Due to a division of work and roles, not everybody in your office is going to be your competitor.
To realistically deal with the competition, narrow down your worries to your team or department. Meanwhile, it is also important to understand who your competitors are and the nature of their competition. Here are some types of competition that one can come across in a professional working environment.

Extreme Professional

Every office has those set of employees who follow the office rules, decorum, and unsaid expectations to a tee. These people are only trying to be professional and will point out faults of others for simple reasons, such as not coming on time, taking extra breaks or leaves, not staying until late or avoiding work on weekends.
They will conveniently avoid taking your positive contributions into consideration. To deal with this kind of a competitor, you need to learn to value your skills, and contributions you make to the company. Surviving competition is also about competing with yourself, than with those around you.

The Super-achiever

The super-achievers find every task a child's play. Every challenge is cleared with great finesse and perfection. Their competitive side gets very pushy when they decide to take up every difficult and extra assignment. Being around such multifaceted super-achievers can put one in self-doubt.
To tackle this problem, let such people lead you into doing a few extra things at office. This way your role is also secured. While you remain quite visible by being participative, you also get to learn about the new projects in your workplace.
Letting these people lead or making them mentors can help the team to remain motivated. A change of perspective can also help in easing the pressure. For instance, if you view a super-achiever as an inspiration to do better, instead of someone who puts you in a self-doubt, it would help you to cope faster.

The Helper

This kind of a competitor loves to help with every project and every task, just to be in the good books of the management. Although they intend to be super-achievers, they only remain at trying too hard and gaining success rarely. It is a classic case of biting more than what you can chew. However, they do teach you something in return.
The positive takeaway from this is, the competitor gets to acquire new skills, interact with most employees across the office and make his presence felt. The helpers are genuine in their efforts, which is what makes them likable at the workplace.
Coping up with the pressure can make you reach a point of burnout very soon. Thus, know what you are good at and where can you help perfectly. Recognizing your own talent will help you get the job done faster.

The Diversionist

These people are really out there to sabotage the credit of a team or reputation of an employee for their own benefit. An early recognition of this kind of a competitive threat in an organization can help you devise your strategy.
They often indulge in slander instead of working efficiently to contribute positively to personal or professional growth.
While dealing with this kind of a competitor, you need to be on a watch about your conduct and report to a higher authority in case the situation starts to get out of hand.
What Are Your Skills
The growing pressure of competition at a workplace can create a serious self-doubt for a person. But, understand that you too were employed for your skills and talent.
A moment of self-analysis will help you see your skills sets, your achievements, and how you can improve upon them. The important point is to be a master of something, than be a jack of everything. Thus, aim to be the best at whatever skills you possess.

How Do You Contribute

Fretting over the work done by your competitors takes up too much time and energy. So, if you are worried about how you can make a valuable addition to your team or the organization, it is time to review your tasks and contributions.
List down the tasks given to you, time taken to complete them, and feedback you receive for it. If these parameters weigh in the positive, you may not worry about your post. This is also a good indicator that you are on the right track and that you can take up some more responsibilities.
Quality Vs. Quantity
In a bid to compete, a lot of people take up Herculean tasks in shortest of time. They tend to overwork, put in extra time, and exhaust themselves.
This, in turn, shows through poor results and failed expectations. Try not to pressurize yourself with the amount of work you need to take up. A good quality result is much appreciated as compared to a big quantity of unfinished held-up tasks. Focusing on quality instead of quantity is likely to earn you credit from your seniors.

Health is Wealth

The pressure of winning a promotion or excelling amidst the competition can take a toll on your health. It can either have physical effects or psychological ones, both of which are equally dangerous.
While dealing with pressure, put your health first. An unhealthy mind or a sick body will never be able to deal with a normal work expectations, let alone the pressures that come along.
Dealing with competitive pressure at a workplace is all about taking a re-check of your expectations from yourself, aligning them with what you have achieved so far, and planning to get to your preset goals.
Dejection comes easy when we begin comparing ourselves to the competitors. The trick lies in seeking that motivation and finding the inspiration that drives us to prove our mettle!