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Some competition is healthful--but not in most organizations, says Jody Urquhart, professional speaker and author of All Work & No Say Takes The Passion Away. This is especially true, she says, when managers pit people against one another.
Urquhart says that when employees have the notion that surpassing others is more important than doing a good job, they lose focus and start putting out low-quality work. She says that organizations can achieve so much more when they channel the same energy that drives competition into work that requires collaboration and shared objectives. "Cooperation should be valued over competition" writes Urquhart, "because teams are far more powerful than individuals."
Urquhart says that employers should ask themselves whether their recognition programs are fostering healthful competition or hoarding heroic praise. "When your star employees consistently bask in the spotlight, the motivation and determination of other staff members suffer," she writes. "Everyone loses. A team environment counts on individuals working for the good of the group. This means that the superstars who love hoarding praise will spoil a team environment."