How to Personalize Competition

How should you deal with friction and rivalry? Here are some suggestions:

1.    Try to channel the drives that produce rivalry into constructive effort. Much of the time the motives, desires, and drives that get us into personnel troubles with associates have a strong “asset value” to the company. That is. We want to do better. We want to excel. We want to go up in the world. If with the help of our bosses and associates we can channel these drives in the right direction, the organization as a whole will benefit.

2.    Watch for the points where conflict may become destructive. There is no formula you can follow that will tell you when rivalry and controversy have gone too far and when they haven’t. You have to play this question by ear, so to speak, and make individual judgments in each case. There have been times when good managers have let disputes flare up to quite a high level without intervening; there have been other times when rivalry has been choked off early. What you must do is watch how easily the people involved get hurt, a question which in turn depends on their innate sensitivity and nature of problem. Also you must take into account the kinds of gains (new information, new understanding, mutual education, etc.) that are coming out of the rivalry, and weigh these against the cost in terms of hurt feelings and sleepless nights that the conflict produces.

3.    Remember that sometimes a man who is rough on people has so much ability or fits a job so well that the gain from using him outweighs the costs. Keep focusing on the benefits of having men with ability, whatever the personal weaknesses.

4.    See it to that an exceedingly ambitious subordinate works first for you and the company, not for himself. In the case of the subordinate who seems to be gunning aggressively for your job, remember that you have the prerogative of making work assignments.

5.    Try to so direct people’s efforts that their frictions come from bona fide attempts to move the organization ahead, not maneuver for selfish or short-term advantage.

6.    Put a value on sensitivity to human-relations problems, but put a higher value still on doing what needs to be done, whether  it pleases people or not.

Author: KPO

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