Effective goal-setting is a key skill in today’s demanding, fast paced workplace. And according to a study in Current Directions in Psychological Science, the way you frame your goals may influence how you communicate and collaborate with your colleagues, and not always in a good way.
As you look at how to achieve your goals, consider whether your primary focus is on improving yourself (self-mastery) or excelling above the competition (mastering others).
Athletes illustrate this distinction. Some strive to improve their performance as compared to their own personal benchmarks, while others focus on benchmarks set by their competition. How does this difference influence one’s goal-oriented behavior?
Well, in the workplace, do you think about how you want to improve against your own set of expectations or do you look at your co-workers and evaluate your achievements against their own?
This distinction may shape your relationships with colleagues in ways that escape your conscious awareness.
People who focus on competitive performance – versus self-mastery – may be tempted to be less than honest and may even withhold information they believe may be helpful for their co-workers. People who focus on self-mastery are more likely to demonstrate open and frank rapport with co-workers.
If you tend to be more competitive but would like to experience a sense of well-being in the workplace, you may need to work harder on developing and sustaining open and collaborative relationships with your co-workers.
Should you find yourself on the “self-mastery” end of the continuum, you will naturally develop more open and trusting relationships with colleagues.