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.
The best way to deal with jealous coworkers is to be mindful of them and be careful what information you share with them. Мinimize triggering actions like bragging, favoritism, or showing off. Approach your jealous coworkers with kindness and help them to become better.
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.
Table of Contents
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 they 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 constantly compete with you
When a coworker is always trying to outdo you, it might be more than just healthy professional competition.
If you notice that they seem to take every opportunity to overshadow your achievements or constantly compare their work to yours in an attempt to prove they’re better, it could be a sign of jealousy. Examples include:
- Challenging your ideas unnecessarily during meetings.
- Attempting to take credit for collaborative efforts.
- Constantly comparing their achievements to yours in conversations.
6. 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
Dealing with jealousy in the workplace can be a complex and delicate situation, but it’s essential to address it in order to maintain a healthy and productive work environment.
Learning how to handle jealous coworkers is a valuable skill that can help you navigate these challenges with grace and professionalism.
1. Focus on your work
In learning how to handle jealous coworkers, it’s important to stay committed to your tasks and maintain a professional demeanor.
Concentrating on your responsibilities will demonstrate your dedication and potentially reduce any negative perceptions.
2. Communicate openly about any issues
When you’re dealing with envious coworkers, try to address any concerns or misunderstandings through open and calm communication.
Clear conversations can prevent misinterpretations and help build trust among your colleagues.
3. Avoid engaging in gossip or workplace drama
A key to navigating jealousy in the workplace is steering clear of gossip and office politics.
By doing so, you’ll foster a healthier work environment and avoid feeding into the negativity that may be fueling jealousy.
4. Offer help and share credit for team successes
When figuring out how to deal with a jealous colleague, remember that collaboration and teamwork are crucial.
Offer assistance when needed and make sure to share credit for team accomplishments, showcasing your cooperative spirit.
5. Maintain a positive attitude
A positive attitude can work wonders in combatting envy in the workplace. Being consistently kind and approachable to all colleagues can help diffuse tension and jealousy.
6. Seek feedback to improve your own performance
In order to understand how to tell if a coworker is jealous of you, consider seeking feedback from them and others.
This not only helps you grow professionally but also shows that you value their opinion and are open to improvement.
7. Address jealousy directly with the individual
If jealousy in the workplace becomes too disruptive, you may need to address it directly with the person involved.
Approach them respectfully and express your concerns, aiming to resolve the issue amicably.
8. Keep personal matters separate from work
Maintaining boundaries between your personal and professional life can help alleviate potential jealousy.
By keeping these areas separate, you minimize the chance for personal issues to influence workplace relationships.
9. Document any incidents involving jealousy for future reference
If you continue to experience issues with envious coworkers, it’s a good idea to document incidents as they occur.
This record can be useful when discussing the matter with a supervisor or HR representative.
10. Consult with a supervisor or HR representative
When you’ve tried everything to deal with a jealous colleague, but the situation doesn’t improve, it’s time to reach out to a supervisor or HR representative for guidance.
They can provide you with additional resources and support to resolve the issue.
How to deal with jealous coworkers after a 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
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.
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.
My experience dealing with a jealous coworker
As an experienced project manager at a leading international tech company, I’ve encountered various challenges throughout my career.
One of the most memorable and difficult situations involved a jealous coworker, who was envious of my success and popularity in the company.
This coworker, let’s call her Sarah, had a highly competitive nature, which often manifested in a resentful attitude toward me.
I could tell she was insecure about her own abilities, and this led to her engaging in gossip and spreading rumors about my accomplishments.
At times, her passive-aggressive behavior would create an uncomfortable atmosphere within our team.
I noticed that Sarah was constantly trying to undermine my efforts, even attempting to sabotage my projects by withholding crucial information or giving misleading advice.
She would compare her work to mine in a negative light and seek attention by discrediting my ideas in front of our colleagues.
This resulted in a strained relationship between us, which affected the entire team dynamic.
Despite her lack of support, I tried to remain patient and understanding. I knew that Sarah was overcritical and uncooperative due to her own insecurities.
At times, she could be quite possessive of her work, as if she were trying to protect her position within the company.
I suspected that she was scheming and manipulative, driven by rivalry and a covetous desire for the recognition that I received.
To turn the situation around, I decided to take a proactive approach.
I made a conscious effort to openly acknowledge and praise Sarah’s contributions, highlighting her strengths and expertise.
I also encouraged collaboration within the team, fostering an environment of support and cooperation, rather than competition.
Gradually, as I continued to be inclusive and respectful, Sarah’s attitude began to change. She started to feel more secure in her role, and her negative behavior subsided.
By demonstrating empathy and focusing on our common goals, I was able to transform the situation into a more positive experience for both of us.
Ultimately, by addressing Sarah’s insecurities and promoting a team-oriented approach, I was able to mitigate the effects of her jealousy and create a more harmonious work environment.
As a project manager, it was a valuable lesson in the importance of understanding and addressing the underlying causes of difficult coworker relationships.
Frequently asked questions about dealing with jealous coworkers
What is the best way to handle a coworker who undermines my work out of envy?
It’s tough dealing with that kind of situation. Try staying calm and professional, and focus on your own work. You might want to have a friendly chat with your coworker, reassuring them of their abilities and encouraging collaboration.
How should I approach a coworker who is constantly comparing their work to mine in a negative way?
It’s important to address this positively. You could try having a casual conversation with your coworker, suggesting that you both focus on your individual strengths and work together to achieve team goals. Remember, it’s all about promoting a supportive work environment!
How can I help a jealous coworker feel more secure and confident in their own abilities?
Start by acknowledging their accomplishments and skills. Offer help or advice when needed, and be sure to include them in team activities. By fostering a sense of belonging and teamwork, you can help them feel more secure in their role.
Is it appropriate to discuss my concerns about a jealous colleague with my supervisor or HR?
Definitely! If jealousy is affecting your work or the team dynamics, it’s a good idea to discuss it with your supervisor or HR. Just make sure to keep the conversation focused on the impact of their behavior and seek guidance on how to handle the situation effectively.
How can I build trust and improve my relationship with a coworker who is envious of my success?
Building trust takes time and effort. Be open, honest, and approachable with your coworker. Show genuine interest in their work and ideas, and encourage collaboration. As you work together and support each other, you’ll likely see your relationship improve over time.