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Blog Insight & Commentary

4 Signs That You Have Jealous Coworkers

And what to do about that green-eyed monster

Beyonce jealousy gif

By Rachel Basinger 

Have you ever achieved something great at work only to find yourself surrounded by green-eyed coworkers? 

Jealousy in the workplace can be a damaging toxin, breeding resentment, unhealthy competition, and driving down office morale. Jealous coworkers aren’t always forthright about their envious feelings; sometimes jealousy manifests itself in the form of rumors, sarcasm, and exclusive work environments

Here are four signs you may be dealing with jealous coworkers, and how you can rise above the situation.

1. You get excessive praise

Praise from your coworkers is great—if it’s genuine. Jealous colleagues may give you excessive praise, but with sarcastic undertones. They know what you did was meaningful, so they offer insincere praise as a way of cutting you down.

How to deal

When they go low, you go high. Resist the urge to reply in a similar condescending tone. You can simply reply with a, Thanks for the compliment! Or, you can recognize others that contributed to the great work: Thanks! Ijeoma played a big role in the project too—couldn’t have done it without her. 

2. They constantly disagree with you

Jealous coworkers may be unwilling to find common ground with you because they feel that doing so would mean defeat. 

They know that you’re better than they are at doing X, Y, or Z, but they don’t want to admit it. They argue to prove themselves superior.

How to deal

Don’t engage with someone who is going to constantly take the opposite side—just because they can. Acknowledge their opinion and move on, saying something like, I’d never thought of it that way!

3. They talk to everyone...except you

If your coworkers are jealous of you, they are going to exclude you. 

We all know how this happens at work. A group of people is talking and laughing in the break room, you show up, and everything stops. There’s a good chance that they just wish they were as cool as you, but since they can’t be, they’re going to form their own clique

How to deal

If you’d like to be included in conversation or in happy hour, just join. Show up and be a force for good. 

4. They talk behind your back

Jealous coworkers may try to cut you down by talking about you behind your back to other colleagues or even your manager. This can be one of the most dangerous forms of jealous manifesting in the workplace. 

How to deal

If you find that your coworker is spreading lies about you—you can confront them and, if the problem persists, tell a manager.

If you choose to confront them, don’t go in with assumptions, go in with respect. Do so calmly and in private: I heard that someone was saying my clients are unhappy, which is hurtful and untrue. Could that have been you? 

If you tell a manager, avoid simply complaining about your coworker, instead convey how the damaging talk is affecting business: Molly has been saying things about my performance that are untrue. I feel that this is damaging my reputation, and I’m afraid that could get back to stakeholders. I’ve confronted her about the problem, but she continues. What advice can you offer?

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