Chapter 2

The Boss Who Pits You Against Your Colleagues

The Problem

Your boss has you competing against your peers for her respect and attention. It’s a “reindeer games” scenario—only one of you can win some coveted prize, whether it’s the chance to lead a team, get a promotion, or just have a moment in the limelight. She has created a horrible, cutthroat environment for an otherwise collegial group of direct reports.

Why It Happens

Though some bosses don’t realize they’re creating this problem, in many cases it’s a deliberate management tactic: Task several people with solving a business challenge, and make it an implicit horse race. Even when a promotion isn’t on the table, senior executives often leave roles and responsibilities ambiguous ...

Get HBR Guides to Managing Your Career Collection (6 Books) now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.