Leave classroom competitiveness out of the workplace 0
Given that most Canadian post-secondary schools pit students against one another using the curved grading system, it’s understandable that new graduates enter the workforce with the mentality that they must excel above colleagues rather than work with them to achieve mutual goals.
Though most of these workers assert that they are cooperative team players and would consider their successful group project grades as supporting evidence, their office behaviour often speaks otherwise.
Students are evaluated in class using the same project assignments and identical assessment criteria. However, if a company tasked multiple employees with the same assignment, it would be a waste of resources.
Green employees eager to impress managers often fight for assignments that they would otherwise have no interest in regardless of a co-worker’s appeals for them. This is an easy way to make an enemy. Small assignments are inconsequential in the long run and co-workers who remember this are more likely to be reimbursed for their consideration when future projects arise that are better aligned with their motivations and skills.
In the classroom, students are encouraged to challenge each other’s work by correcting mistakes and asking questions after class presentations. While this type of antagonistic behaviour may be acceptable in schools where debate is encouraged, it is not appropriate in professional settings.
Employees with few skills may be tempted to point out a colleague’s error to an entire team in order to gain credit for catching it, but doing so will also earn them discredit for being uncooperative. Those who choose instead to alert only those who need to be made aware of the errors are rewarded for their discretion in the form of appreciation and future courtesy.
Another tactic students may use to gain an edge is to withhold information. For example, students might believe that by not sharing information about what is speculated to be on an exam, they have an advantage over their peers. In doing this though, these students are also restricting their received intelligence from classmates, which may be more helpful. The same logic applies to the workplace where information hoarding is also disadvantageous to all parties.
A lot can be learned and practiced in school, but competitive attitudes are often best left outside the workplace.