As a manager, you will understand the importance of your team working well together. If your team members get along well with each other, there is a positive environment created which leaves room for creativity, better performance as well as healthy competition which is necessary.
But what happens when you find that there is unhealthy competition amongst your team. One person may be doing extremely well but he/ she is getting sidelined by the others or is being gossiped about or labeled as one of your favourites. As a manager, you may even be accused of being biased.
Since some of your team members may not stand up to you directly, it will come out on the person that is genuinely doing a good job and deserves to be appreciated. At the risk of losing out on a good employee due to unhealthy competition or being seen as an unfair boss, there are a few steps that you can take as a manager to create a healthy work environment.
Dealing with Unhealthy Competition:
Create a positive environment: Do not wait for a concern to come up to make changes. When you start managing a team, make sure you create a healthy environment facilitating open communication amongst each other. Discourage any behavior that may lead to negativity such as gossip or name-calling. In case they find that things are unfair, create an atmosphere where in people can come to you and discuss certain things.
Promote teamwork: Help your team understand that all their efforts are necessary in order to complete a project or task. When your team works together, appreciate them. This will encourage them to work together as a team. In case, you find that a few people end up doing all the work or one person does not contribute at all, take the appropriate action as a manager.
Appreciation: Yes, as a manager you will find that one team member is stronger than the others. Appreciate them in a manner where the other members do not get resentful. Recognize and accept individual differences and avoid playing favorites. Give appreciation when you need to as well as get your team comfortable with feedback. It often helps to give feedback in private as nobody likes their weaknesses to be pointed out in the open.
Be Objective during Appraisals: There may be members in your team that you are a lot closer to than others. Remember, that if you want to create a healthy environment, it starts with you. So look at defining boundaries with members of your team so that they understand that their evaluation is based on their performance and not on their friendship with you. This will also make you earn your title as a fair boss.
Get Familiar with Company Laws: There may be times where in things would have gotten out of hand, where in a team member is being sidelined or gossiped about because he/she is good at their work. It is important to encourage employees to be open with you about this as there are consequences to certain actions. Look at being approachable and also get yourself familiar with company laws as well as other resources to help make things better for a harassed team member. Encourage them to document such behavior so that the appropriate action can be taken.
Practice what you preach: Be the change that you want to see. As a manager, your teammates are observing you constantly. If you are promoting teamwork and a healthy sense of competition amongst your team, live up to it. Lead by example, your team is most likely going to listen and respect what you say.
With all the other duties that you are given as a manager, it can get tough to monitor your actions as well as others actions all the time. But once you create that environment, things will be a lot smoother for you and your team. You will also be able to deal with conflicts in a healthier manner. Keep in mind that it starts with you.