In a society where productivity has become almost a religion, competitive people seem more likely than ever to stay that way.
Since professional life is more and more intertwined with private life, in addition, this competitive spirit emerges in all kinds of situations: Trying to grab the attention of an influential person, flaunt wealth, when it comes to being the neighbor with the best public image or even when what you want is to compete with others in the number of followers you have on social networks like Instagram.
The result is that today almost all of us know a good number of competitive people who enjoy overcoming others more than stimulating them through the effort itself. This can make these people prone to opportunism, manipulation, or even the desire to sacrifice all of their work (and that of the people who work with them) to unprofitable projects just by getting ahead of them.
Ways to Treat Competitive People
What has been said above makes people competitive much more than the muscle of companies and organizations; they can also be the spark that triggers unnecessary conflict, a source of anguish for friends and family and the propagators of a bad work climate.
Fortunately, there are ways to deal with these types of people so that their more negative side is appeased.
1. Don’t let the other’s ego take over
One effective way to prevent competitive people from always trying to get other people’s attention is, simply, do not reward such behavior. For example, when during an informal meeting or dating, a person competing for attention constantly interrupts others and talks about their experiences, tastes and opinions, they may be politely asked not to interrupt. At the same time, let the conversation run its course.
In these cases, it is a bad strategy to behave the same as the competitive person in question, to compete with them in a contest to see which monologue is imposed on the other, as this does not break with the logic of competitiveness.
2. Assert yourself
When it comes to competitive people, it is not only important to maintain a favorable relationship framework for the majority; you have to defend your own rights.
Therefore, if the arrogance and arrogance of the other undermines our dignity, it is good to call for attention so that such situations do not recur and, incidentally, that order can be maintained. In these cases, assertiveness is the key.
3. Control the working environment
If the negative effects of being close to a competitive person are noticeable at work, either because you are using unethical tricks to achieve your goals, or because you are setting goals that are different from those intended, one of the strategies to follow is to intervene directly in the work climate change the system of rewards or “penalties”. For example, if the person in question intends to let others down by racking up all the performance bonuses, putting limitations on these motivational mechanisms is a very effective solution.
It is important to note that this is a collective impact measure, and that it does not only affect the competitive person. However, this fact can also be a benefit, as it is seen as a fair measure that affects everyone equally.
4. Educate in the principles of equality
If the competitive person in question is young and willing to participate in their education and training, it is good to get him to think about the moral values that underlie his behavior and how they fit into a culture that values equal opportunity. But this is not a task to be undertaken on the basis of theory alone; it can also be taught through the practice of group games and activities in which the interest of the group is most important.
In medium and large companies, it is more and more common to invite all its members to participate in group games, such as football or paintball, for this reason. In this sense, for example, the case of a company located in China which has come to develop a team of castellers (Catalan tradition) in which its workers can participate to render human towers has attracted the attention of the media.
5. Reverse engineering to discover the origin of competitive behavior
There are often cases when people do not stand out for their competitiveness they begin to engage in behavioral dynamics of extreme individualism.
In these cases, it is quite possible that a recent change in that person’s day-to-day context has had the effect of this change in attitude. Exploring the reasons for this transformation is one of the ways we deal with how this person affects us and sometimes even allows us to help them.
6. Manage fear and paranoia
When you find yourself in a situation that is perceived as dangerous or high risk, one of the first manifestations of anxiety and fear this produces is competitive behavior.
Not being able to trust anyone causes others to see themselves as a means to an end or sometimes as potential threats to protect against. In these cases, communication and the establishment of agreements with guarantees are very useful so that this defensive attitude does not pose a problem.