2010 Career Challenge: X = X-Factor

Ever seen the reality show “X-Factor”? Basically, it’s a competition where the most talented performer wins. Fair enough, right?

Do you ever look at your workplace this way? In other words, do you believe that, in order for you to “win”, someone else has to “lose”?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about a little rivalry on a sales spiff. I actually think a bit of competition can be a good thing. It sets the bar higher and perhaps makes us work a little harder than we would have otherwise.

However, I am talking about an unhealthy “culture of competition” that exists within the workforce. I admit I was guilty of this attitude myself as a young professional. As I mention in the short video Playing Nice below, I wanted to be the superstar client lead at the marketing agency where I worked.


As you can see, I learned very quickly why that thinking was doomed to fail. I learned that if I wanted to call myself a leader at work, I had to learn how to build a team of followers that trusted and listened to me.

There’s a famous quote that says people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. I wish I would have known that at the beginning of my career. I wish someone would have pulled me aside and said, “Look kid, anyone can suck up to the boss – and most people do. Focus on earning the respect of your colleagues as well.”

So don’t make the mistake I did and treat your workplace a second-rate version of the “X-Factor” competition. As I learned, if you do, the only real loser will be you.

Note: This is Part 24 in a series called the “2010 Career Challenge: Becoming a Rock Star from A to Z” by Emily Bennington and Skip Lineberg, co-authors of Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out, and Move Up at Your First Real Job.

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