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Managing Competition with your Colleagues

Is that singer friend being a good colleague or fierce competition?

This week I spoke with international tenor, Jordan Pitts. We had a great conversation about what it means to be a good colleague. Let's face it, we all deal with it, but we don't talk about it. The conversation on my podcast Harbour for the Arts, made me realize that we need to explore the hidden trust issues that many singers have when it comes to their colleagues.

Opera is a highly competitive industry, with performers and production teams vying for top positions and prestigious roles. While competition can be a driving force for excellence, it can also create tension among colleagues in the opera world. In this blog post, we'll explore how competition affects relationships between colleagues in opera and how to manage it effectively.

Competition in opera is a natural consequence of a limited number of top roles and high standards for performers. Every singer and musician wants to be the lead, and every production team wants to create the most memorable performance. However, this competitive environment can also create conflicts and negative relationships among colleagues.

One way that competition affects relationships between colleagues in opera is through jealousy. When one performer receives a coveted role or recognition, others may feel envious or resentful. This jealousy can breed negativity and even sabotage, leading to a toxic work environment.

Another way that competition can impact relationships in opera is through mistrust. When colleagues are competing for the same role or position, they may feel that others are working against them. This can lead to suspicion and a lack of cooperation, which can be detrimental to the success of a production.

Despite the challenges of competition, there are ways to manage it effectively in the opera world. One key strategy is to focus on collaboration rather than competition. By working together towards a common goal, colleagues can build positive relationships and create better overall performance. This requires a level of trust and communication, which can be established through rehearsals, team-building exercises, and open dialogue.

Another effective way to manage competition in opera is to acknowledge and celebrate everyone's achievements. When a performer or production team achieves success, it is important to recognize and appreciate their hard work. This can create a positive atmosphere where everyone is encouraged to work towards their goals without feeling threatened by others' successes.

Finally, it is important to remember that competition is not always negative. Healthy competition can drive performers and production teams to push themselves and create their best work. When managed effectively, competition can be a motivating force that leads to excellence.

Competition is a natural part of the opera industry, but it can also create tension and negative relationships among colleagues. By focusing on collaboration, acknowledging achievements, and embracing healthy competition, performers and production teams can work together to create memorable performances and build positive relationships in the opera world.

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