I'm part of a small team - there's the team lead, me, and 2 other people. Aside from the team lead we're all at the same level & job title.

We've always worked very well together and our team is constantly praised for the work we do. Recently - because of the praise and the amount of work we do - the team lead has mentioned expanding the team, recruiting some more people at our level, and making senior posts.

The problem is the team lead keeps saying that any of us could do the senior role(s) and they refuse to say how many senior posts will be made. We all want a senior role, and the uncertainty on how many posts are available has made some of my teammates become very competitive - trying to take work off other people, talking over each other in meetings so they can make a point before anyone else, doing work without telling anyone else in the hope that they can do it before anyone else, working significantly longer hours, etc etc.

I'm really not a fan of this new dynamic, but the boss likes it because people are producing more work. I've tried bringing it up in a team meeting before, everyone plays it down and says I'm imagining things.

Is there a productive way to stop the competition? I like a bit of competition as much as the next person, but this is starting to feel unhelpful & is making me not enjoy my work. I feel that I have to be as competitive as everyone else if I want a chance at getting the job, but I really don't want to start acting like that.

  • And the “new” posts really exist? They sound like a managers pipe dream... or carrot to increase productivity.
    – Solar Mike
    Feb 21, 2021 at 11:42
  • 1
    "Is there a productive way to stop the competition?" -- If you and all of your peers feel you are being taken advantage of, meet up for a social (socially distant & safe) chat and talk the matter over. As with most team matters, cooperation will produce more efficient results.
    – Pete W
    Feb 21, 2021 at 15:36
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    What your team-mates are doing is counter-productive. It's not seniority that matters in a company. The customer matters. If I was your manager, I'd look for the team member who shows composure and maturity when being put in such a race. A person who can recognize the unique skills of team members and has negotiation skills to get work done inspite of the competitiveness is the one I'd appoint as a senior.
    – Nav
    Feb 21, 2021 at 16:12
  • What are your teammates interested in that they compete for? Just a title? Increased salary? I understand the senior position opening is for now just an idea, so I guess the details of it are not very clear yet... if team members are competing that much on assumptions it might indicate other latent issues (lack of recognition, non-competitive salary, ....)
    – Laurent S.
    Feb 22, 2021 at 8:38
  • Good luck on your next performance review, not just from a "productivity/quantitative" perspective, but also from a "company values/competencies" perspective. If you are seen as the person causing a crack in team cohesion when your colleagues don't see a problem, you might be seen as the problem. Good luck!
    – Austin759
    Feb 22, 2021 at 9:13

2 Answers 2


Is there a productive way to stop the competition?

You can't stop the competition itself. But you can stop your participation.

If you aren't a fan of this new dynamic, you (and perhaps others) could remove yourself from the competition by declaring that you don't want the promotion to a senior position.

Or, you could simply stop competing (hoarding work, talking over others, working longer hours, etc.) and see if you get promoted anyway due to your hard work and potential.

Other than that, it's hard to see how you could stop a competition that you don't oversee. It's their game. You get to decide if you want to play by their rules or not.

  • 4
    Perhaps work smarter not harder - instead of doing "more work," show more leadership with the team (starting with supporting people that got talked over, reminding people of responsibilites, showing concern for peoples' quality of life, etc.)
    – mxyzplk
    Feb 21, 2021 at 18:32

Unfortunately the loud & visible people often do get the promotions.

You don't need to be one, but don't expect the promotion to fall into your lap. Having said that the team lead has created a bad atmosphere for team coherence by not being more specific and mentioning it at all. I suggest you wait quietly and see what eventuates, when people cannot be specific, it's often because it's more wind than substance and this isn't something that should be coming from a team lead.


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