Turns out workplace rivalries have this very positive benefit

Illustration: Ashley Siebels

Like athletes, workers thrive on competition. It can always be a rivalry with another company where a boss talks about beating the competition, but it turns out that constructive rivalries within the same office can have a positive effect on everyone, a new study suggests.

ResumeLab recently conducted a study of over 1,000 people to see how workplace competition is positive and how it can impact conflicts and have benefits to productivity and beyond. It turns out that competition is often seen between coworkers, as 82% of respondents said they’ve had a competition with an employee.

For the most part, it’s healthy. Sixty-nine percent of respondents had a competition with another work that was constructive and friendly, which they viewed as a positive rivalry. In terms of sexes, both men and women had more positive rivals with their own sexes than the other. The same was seen for unhealthy competition, as 30% of workers said they engaged in a toxic and self-interest rivalry that had a negative impact.

The survey found that men were nearly two times more likely than women to have a negative rival of the opposite gender.

When breaking down work sectors, rivalries were seen between workers with the same career trajectory. Seventy-three percent of entry-level workers said their rivals came from their own peers. That trend followed with intermediate (80%), middle management (71%), and senior management (56%).

While rivalries can be perceived as toxic, the results from the survey say anything but. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said it’s beneficial to have healthy competition at the office because of numerous reasons including it gives honest performance feedback, provides new learning opportunities and rewards top performers.

The three most competitive achievements in the office were raises, promotions, and leadership roles.