5 Ways of Dealing with a Hyper-Competitive Coworker.





Do you have a coworker who is constantly trying to outdo everyone else?

Some employers encourage competition in the work place because they believe that it causes greater productivity and motivates the employees to meet deadlines.

As much as these reasons may be good for any company, such an attitude can cause some employees to become overly competitive.

Nurses are no exception when it comes to competition in the workplace.

When nurses become overly or hyper-competitive, a number of troublesome things that can happen.


Competition can cause suspicion in the work place. People lose trust for one other because they believe that they will be reported to the supervisor or management if they do anything out of the ordinary, no matter how trivial.

Coworkers may feel that they always have to watch their backs. This causes poor relations and stress among colleagues.

When the focus of the employer is more result-oriented rather than people-oriented, people tend not to be concerned about one another’s feelings; this makes the work environment quite unbearable.

Competition spoils the day for everyone and the general moral is usually low.


Too much competition tends to encourage a cut-throat work culture. It becomes almost impossible to work in such an environment.

If this behavior is caused by a fellow nurse, here are five tips on how you can deal with it.


Dealing with competitive behavior

  • Focus on changing the situation.  Avoid joining in the competition and trying to also outdo this nurse.

It may be tempting to join in the “I can do better than you” competition. This gets you nowhere, and if you think about it, both of you will start to look rather odd to the others.

  • Focus on how you can work together as a team. There will be times you need each other’s help.

Figure out a way that your coworker can help you without making you feel like you are not good enough.

  • Avoid getting upset. The competitive coworker can be really annoying at times.

You want to avoid getting sucked up by their behavior.

  • Use humor to defuse tension.

Learn to joke about yourself or a situation that happened, and have a good laugh.

  • Encourage a team spirit. Be the advocate for team work.

A culture of cooperation is a better culture to work in. The day goes by faster and work seems lighter even though you may be very busy.


Share some experiences that you’ve had with a competitive coworker.


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  1. Joyce, Great post.
    You know, to me competition stems from the belief in “lack”. The mindset of “I am not good enough, will not have enough, won’t do enough- to be the best”. And so we get competitive, trying to outdo our colleagues. I have seen this in nursing too. Heck… I used to BE this nurse. Always trying to DO more, always trying to come across as the “best” worker on my unit. But that came from my own limiting belief that I wasn’t good enough. I had to “prove” my worth. To my unit, my boss, my co-workers… but ultimately to myself.

    I think that your ideas about working with competitive team members are all good ones. I would just add that we can also shift our mindset from one of lack to one of abundance. There is plenty to go around. There is work for us all. We can do our best jobs when we collaborate, not compete.

    Thank you for a wonderful article. Very well done! Have a healthy day,

    • Joyce says:

      So true Elizabeth.
      I like what you say about shifting our mindset.
      If we find ourselves ultra competitive, we need to look inside and question what we are trying to prove.
      A culture of teamwork is much better than working in a competitive environment.
      Thanks for that insight.