There are many reasons why a colleague, or even a manager may feel jealousy towards you:
- Your appearance
- Your success at work
- Your popularity and relationships with other colleagues
- You earn more money than them
- They want your job
- Your personal life
Initially, their jealousy might go unnoticed but the more the person compares themselves to you, resentment can quickly creep in. This can be extremely damaging to everyone involved especially if the person wants to create problems for you at work.
Dealing with a jealous colleagueTo begin with, you might question yourself about whether you’re reading too much into a person’s behaviour but after a while, their jealousy will become more evident. Here are some actions you can take to nip it in the bud:
If you’ve become the subject of gossip or you’re suddenly finding yourself being excluded from work activities, you could find that the person at the centre of it all has an ulterior motive. This can be really upsetting and might make you question yourself, which can lead to feelings of rejection and loneliness.
Remember, workplace gossip and exclusion are forms of bullying and shouldn’t be tolerated. Firstly, speak to your manager about how you’re feeling, but if you prefer not to notify management straight away, try talking to the person that is instigating this behaviour. Speak calmly, try not to appear defensive and explain that you’ve noticed the rift and ask if they have a reason for acting this way. By doing this you’re showing maturity as well as letting the person know that you are aware of their actions. The chances are they might deny their jealousy, but if you suggest working together positively in the interests of the company, it could put an end to any future incidents.
Although you might be over the moon about a recent promotion or pay rise, not everyone will be happy to hear it! To avoid any jealous reactions from colleagues, perhaps keep the good news between yourself and close friends who are more likely to celebrate your successes.
Another great way to tackle jealous behaviour is by making the offender feel included. Everyone loves a compliment so find things that you can praise them for. Jealousy tends to be triggered by insecurity so by making them feel good about themselves, you can become their ally rather than their enemy.
Try not to take it personallyEven though it might feel as though you’re being singled out, try to understand that the person might be reacting in a certain way because they are unhappy in themselves. Try not to react negatively to their behaviour as this could add fuel to the fire and might even end up making other colleagues disrespect you. Rise above the jealousy and, if anything, take it as a compliment.
In this article published by Science Daily, it refers to a study undertaken by Joel Koopman from the University of Cincinnati Lindner College of Business who investigated the causes of envy in the workplace. It’s an interesting read and gives a deeper understanding of jealousy issues.