ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Manage Rivalry & Rise Above Competitive Retaliation

Updated on August 22, 2016

Mankind has been participating in rivalries since the first arguments, fences, walls, tribes and competitions came into existence. It is fair to say that rivalry is in our DNA. When healthy, these rivalries allow us to innovate, create and compete on a higher level collectively. Nonetheless, when unhealthy they can become all-encompassing and destructive – especially when the rivalries are internal.

The dark side of rivalry has been described as, “counterproductive tactics which leads to alarming behavior and competitive retaliation” by researchers at Pepperdine University. At times even leading to “dirty trick” campaign’s like those mentioned in the libel suit Virgin Airway won against British Airway in 1993. (In this particular instance B. A. went as far as calling V. A. customers and falsifying claims that their flights had been cancelled. In addition, false information was released stating that Richard Bronson – the president of V. A. – had HIV in an attempt to damage the brand.)

So how do we safeguard our teams from destructive rivalry without curtailing innovation / competition?

Encourage Competition

By creating an environment where productive competition is rewarded; you prime your team to expect rivalry and spoils for victory.

Once incentives are in place the goals is to bring timid associates out of their shell and channel the impact of your more aggressive associates. With the aim of fostering an environment that accepts and promotes challenge throughout organization.

Compete From The Top Down

I want them on their knees. Begging for mercy. Pleading for their lives. Confessing every sin. Kill! Kill! Kill!” – Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, “speaking” to fellow executives about Ingres, his company’s primary rival in the early ‘80’s.

Ellison’s choice of words may seem obsessive and overly abrasive, but you cannot deny that he is setting the tone for his peers and subordinates.

When upper management leads "from the front" the associates know who the opposition is and consequently your team will be less likely to divert attention in a counterproductive manner.

Turn Off The Waterfall

It is natural for an experienced leader to want to call all of the plays for his team, but this form of micro management can alienate assets and stifle associate growth. By only allowing room for top down communication -- alternative perspectives may be overshadowed or remain silent in fear of retaillation for disrupting the chain of command.

Leaders who break their associates up into small groups / innovation teams to solve problems encourage growth, unvarnished feedback and competition simultaneously. Thus, allowing the front line to design the plays / plans and report back to leadership for advice, guidance and executive production of the best ideas / designs.

Open the Door to Competition but Don’t Remove the Walls

If you have ever watched a highly contested sporting event you understand the importance of letting “the teams play,” in highly contested moments during the game: The referee’s take their mouths off the whistle and within reason let the players decide the fate of the game.

The concept of “letting them play” applies across channels. When you allow your associates / groups / departments to work through critical operational moments you force them to test their limits and consequently bring life to the quote:

Competitive freedom is important to maximize your team / product growth and potential. [With in reason]

That said, prudent leadership will establish perimeters to insure that the competition never goes too far or ventures into the dark side of rivalry.

Have you ever experienced the 'Dark Side' of competition?

See results

Healthy rivalry has been at the foundation of our collective growth and when administered correctly can be a corner stone of your team’s overall success.

Disrupt and Win.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)