In the workplace, all of us are encouraged to be professional about giving and receiving feedback, and to be gracious when someone else is receiving an award. In the face of competition, there are going to be times when conflicts can arise among colleagues, which can end up getting out of hand. Conflicts at work can arise for a number of reasons.
What happens when you are doing well at work but your colleagues around you are not happy about it?
What do you do when you are on the receiving end of jealousy at work?
Dealing with unhealthy competition from a colleague or colleagues can get a little tricky as you spend almost 80% of your week at work and it can get difficult to avoid them. At the same time, your aim would be deal with it as smoothly as possible without letting it affect your productivity at work.
What if my colleagues are envious of me?
Ways of dealing with jealousy at the workplace include:
Be sure: There may be times when your colleagues may not mean any harm and it could just be petty. As long as there is no harm inflicted, look at being sportive about it and do not lose sight of your work. If you need to get clear on their intentions, communicate with them in private that you sense negativity coming from them. Some may not even realize that they are coming off as resentful. Once you bring it to their notice and clarify, you will be sure if the damage done was intentional or unintentional.
Understand it from their point of view: Imagine you belong to a team of 5 people and you are working day in and out for a promotion, but that spot is only open for one person. Despite your best efforts, you do not get it and it goes to some one else. How does it feel? Keep in mind that when you are doing well and you are getting appreciated, your colleagues are not getting appreciated as much; they are likely to resent it. It may not be directed at you, so understanding it from their perspective may help you not take it so personally.
Defuse their jealousy: If your colleagues are going to gossip about you because they envy you, retaliating in the same way only causes a bigger mess. Understand what they may be feeling and look at appreciating them for their efforts too. This will help you build a relationship with them and it will reflect on how all of you work as a team.
Evaluate your own behavior: Reflect on what you have been doing to contribute to your co-workers resenting you. Are you putting them down by constantly looking for self-praise? Are you yourself resenting your co-workers when he or she gets praised? Think back and look at your contribution to their jealousy, if you feel that you too have been behaving in the same manner, you are only receiving what you are giving out. Look at making the appropriate changes, it may take some time for people to recognize the change, but if you want change, start with your self.
Document interactions: There are times when things can get out of control and you may be subjected to nasty mails, gossip and to an extent even get side-lined. If a co-worker has sent you a mail that is completely out of line, keep it as it counts as harassment and your company has their own laws to counter this. Retaliating to the mail in the same manner could also work against you. So look at reaching out to your manager for support.
Build on your strengths and support system: While it is easy to lose focus when you are dealing with these conflicts at work, keep in mind that your purpose at work is to do your best. Feeling bad about giving it your best is not going to help you. On one hand there may be people at work against you, but there may also be people at work who will support you. Leaning on them will also help you cope with the politics at work and it will also keep you focused, as well as positive.
Some amount of competition is needed to motivate you to give your best. Recognize the difference between healthy as well as unhealthy competition and then look at taking the necessary steps. Most importantly, do not lose sight of your purpose at work. Conflicts do take place at work; it is how you act upon it, which makes all the difference. There may be times when you may need to be sportive but if things do go out of hand which ends up affecting you as well as your work, you need to take active steps to make changes.