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Some friendly competition at work is a good thing. It motivates us to better ourselves, helps us think creatively, and even increases our productivity. However, when you come across a very competitive coworker who seems to one-up everything you do, then it can get a little annoying and cause you to lose focus.

Dealing with a rivalry can get a little tricky because you don’t want to hurt company morale or demonstrate signs of not being a team player to your boss. It’s important to follow these tips and tread lightly.

Don’t Lose Focus

No matter what, it’s important that you don’t let this coworker distract you from your work. A little competition can take a wrong turn when you start focusing on hindering the success of each other rather than bringing out the best in yourselves. Don’t let your coworker become your main focus during the workweek. This could be exactly what they want, so they can outshine you. If this coworker is truly trying to one-up you on everything you do, then it eventually may take a toll on them professionally and mentally. The rivalry may even fizzle out. Until this happens, remember to keep focus on your own success.

Can You Make This Work?

Whether it’s an additional motivating tool or a way for you to pawn off more difficult work to your competitive coworker, try to figure out if this situation can work out in your favor. Having a competitive coworker can motivate you to do better and work smarter. Maybe there’s a tough account or client that you can give to her to work on, so it pulls her focus away from you and do something that could benefit the company. This way, you can focus your energy on other projects.

Remember to Be the Best You

This is a very important reminder to always do your best. Find a way to strengthen yourself and create your own brand. Make yourself indispensable by finding your own niche and building on your value. No matter what gets in your way, you owe it to yourself to be the best you can be.

Talk It Out

Could it be a misunderstanding? Sometimes it might seem that a person is “out for your job,” but they are simply working just as hard as you. They may even be socially awkward and not sure how to talk about their ideas without steamrolling yours. Maybe have a conversation with your coworker to express your concerns professionally. If it turns out that they are actually competitive with you, explain how this is impacting your work and how you would like to work together, instead of against each other.

Talk to Your Boss

If the two of you can’t come to an agreement and it’s still impacting your productivity, it might be time to bring it up to your boss. Make sure you explain to your boss that the competition between you and your coworker is getting in the way of your work and affecting your productivity. Shy away from how it affects you personally or how you feel it’s unfair. Bring specific instances to highlight the issue.


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