13 smart ways to deal with jealous coworkers
Jealousy at work can be the source of all sorts of problematic situations, especially if it becomes the catalyst of malicious intentions. That is why you should be careful around colleagues who are jealous of your professional success at work.
Unfortunately, jealousy at work is one of the harsher realities that you have to face as a professional. Here I will tell you all about how to recognize the signs of coworker jealousy and how you can adjust your behavior in order to deal with it effectively.
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5 signs coworkers are jealous of you
So how to tell if a coworker is jealous of you? If you can feel it in your gut that something is off when you are around your colleagues but you can't put your finger on it, then you should look for the following signs of professional jealousy directed at you.
1. They never celebrate your success
This can be a red flag for jealousy. Feeling insecure is the base of being jealous, the lack of confidence in their own ability to achieve what you managed to accomplish can easily make your colleagues jealous and wanting to bring you down. Examples include:
- Belittling accomplishments
- Lack of congratulations
- Spiteful comments
And there is a good reason for this. They are jealous but deep down they know that you have something that they don't. Perhaps they realize just how incompetent really are.
2. They undermine you every step of the way
Such a tendency is hard to be passed by, as it certainly affects your work process. This could be a clear sign that your coworkers feel intimidated by your achievements and intentionally try to sabotage and prevent you from achieving another success. Examples include:
- Blocking your ideas
- Making excuses not to help you
- Always disagree with what you say
- Ignoring/refusing communication
3. They exclude you
In its essence, jealousy is an immature feeling – working on it requires a certain level of emotional intelligence that not all people bother to acquire.
So if your work life starts to feel like being back in high school and you end up being excluded from a social gathering or project updates, it's a sign that some of your coworkers haven't evolved much since their teenage years. Signs include:
- Lack of communication
- Making you feel unwanted
4. They complain about you being privileged
The core of jealousy is the feeling that someone is receiving preferential treatment. In your jealous colleagues’ eyes, it could be anything from your holiday requests, early promotion, and comments about salary. You can even expect some false complaints about yourself.
5. They gossip behind your back
Workplace gossip is quite unpleasant and demotivating. It is a passive-aggressive behavior that aims to cause you psychological distress.
If you start hearing rumors about yourself at work, it is a sure sign that you are dealing with toxic coworkers.
How to deal with jealous coworkers after promotion
You worked hard, put in the effort, stayed focused, followed the advice and you finally got what you were aiming for – a promotion. In a perfect world, everyone would feel happy for you and would strive to do the same with their work. However, as it often happens – you are faced with green-eyed monsters.
Your efforts to prove worthy to a jealous colleague are mostly worthless as you are not the problem in the first place, but you can try to deal with the situation in the most appropriate way.
1. Avoid bragging at work, keep the celebration for your friends and family
Try to get in their heads - if they don't hurry to congratulate you, or you even hear rumors about how undeserved your promotion was, it's easy to feel hurt. You can try to imagine what you would think if you were the one passed over. There are a lot of bruised egos involved and you would not want to rub your success in them.
2. Offer your knowledge to your colleagues
You would think that sharing your success story can only bring more chances for achievements to your colleagues and you would be half right.
You cannot give knowledge forcefully, so think about how to make it in a way that won’t ridicule them.
Dealing with insecure people is a delicate process – you shouldn't present your promotion as something they've omitted in their work, but guide them to accelerate their progress.
3. Stand your ground
You would hate to see someone swallowed by their own pride after a success, so you would want to be the opposite if you are to deal with jealousy.
It's easy to go to the other extreme, so by all means don't say you don't deserve it – being humble is noble, but it won't do you good if it's too much.
How to deal with jealous backstabbing colleagues
Sometimes jealousy won’t be limited to spiteful comments and skipped congratulations. Sadly, it can affect your work in many awful ways. In their need to feel better than you, backstabbing colleagues will do what they have to to get ahead on their way up.
Let's take a look at the most common types of backstabbers :
- Finger pointers
- Credit thieves
The common thing between all those is that they won't hesitate to blame you for anything while staying on the side and not taking part in the resolution. On the contrary – you can easily be robbed of your ideas and credit for the hard work that you have done. They would even add nasty half-truths and lies about you to ruin your reputation at work.
Sounds terrible, right? I would understand if you got the rush to pack your things and leave in panic, but let's face it – there are a few things you can do to deal with it other than running. Let’s take a look at how to deal with jealousy at work.
1. Strategise your friendships at work
Get new allies in the right places and elevate yourself from the green bottom. Think of volunteering in shared projects that'll bring you closer to people from other departments.
2. Keep up the good work
Meet the needs of the stakeholders, if your work is tailored to achieve the goals of the decision-makers. You have a better chance to keep that success continuous.
3. Let your boss and HR rep know
Toxicity in the workplace can never be good for your employer. Share your thoughts on the changing work environment, it should raise some red flags for them.
But be careful how you do it – direct accusations must be very well supported with evidence. Also, here you can find out how to handle various types of difficult coworkers, in our complete blog series.
How to protect yourself from jealous coworkers
Happiness loves silence – ever heard of that one? Sure you did, but have you thought about how it works? It could be a key point for protecting yourself from jealousy at work. To achieve it you could:
1. Limit sharing your achievements on a company level
That'll help you stay off the radar of the green-eyed colleagues and won't bring you into the viral rumors rankings.
2. Ask your manager not to share your successes openly
Keep it limited to the people involved in your projects and any relevant seniors.
3. Be open when you make a mistake
Consider being under close monitoring if you have detected any of the jealousy signs, so if you made a mistake – make sure to be the first who shares it with your manager. Otherwise, you risk being exposed in a mean way.
4. Make sure your paperwork is up to scratch
Have everything in writing – emails, reports, agreements, disclaimers. Leave no room for doubt if you did the right thing, so any accusations would fire back where they are supposed to.
5. Maintain trust
Make sure you update your direct manager with the progress of your work, not only when you are asked to – make it a regular thing. This will help you build up the trust they have in your judgment and abilities
6. Establish boundaries
Do not share any details you are not comfortable with and keep your personal life as private as possible
7. Be the opposite example
Do the best you can to be the opposite of those jealous coworkers. Celebrate the success of your coworkers, praise your teammates for their efforts and ask for advice when they nail an accomplishment. Good energy only attracts more good energy, so you can use that to change the setting in your workplace, by helping everyone feel at ease around you.
- The most effective way to deal with jealousy at work is to stay above it and work on not taking it personally.
- Be mindful and minimize the triggering actions like bragging, even if you worked hard for that promotion.
- The most efficient thing you can do is to stay polite no matter how hard that can be.
- Kill them with kindness and don't sink into their petty game.
- Try to offer them advice or help if they believe they are deprived of it.
- Having a back in such situations can save you a lot of tears – a bestie to vent off with or a mentor to share your thoughts with and ask for advice, they will help you bring your confidence up, to where it should be.
- You have to be aware that jealousy is not strictly limited to the envy of your success.
- In most cases, it's due to personal issues, such as above normal competitiveness or lack of confidence and insecurity in all aspects of life.