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HBR Guide to Office Politics (HBR Guide Series) by Karen Dillon

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Chapter 6

The Hypercompetitive Peer

The Problem

There’s one in every office: a colleague who is so competitive, so obnoxious, that she stops at nothing to get every advantage over her peers. She brags about her successes, races to be first in line for high-profile projects, weasels out of grunt work, and consistently “forgets” to mention anyone else’s contributions when she’s praised for something that’s really a team effort. She’s dead set on getting ahead, even at the expense of everyone else.

Why It Happens

People become overly competitive at work for two reasons (assuming they aren’t just jerks, see chapter 15), says leadership and networking expert Brian Uzzi at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. Often they feel they have to ...

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