It’s important to maintain a positive work environment for employees, even if feelings of jealousy arise. You can effectively avoid jealousy by determining the overall cause of it. Once you better understand its cause, you can implement strategies to resolve and eliminate jealousy among coworkers. In this article, we review what workplace jealousy is, what causes it and tips to rid it from the office.
What is workplace jealousy?
Workplace jealousy can occur when one coworker feels anxious or insecure about the talents of another employee. It’s important to remain positive, kind and professional in the workplace to prevent and lessen workplace jealousy between team members. Before you can properly resolve workplace jealousy, you must first understand the source it’s coming from and what is causing it.
What causes workplace jealousy?
There are many reasons why an employee may start to build jealousy and resentment toward another team member. Common causes for employees acting jealous in the workplace include:
Earning promotions: If team members with similar job performances and requirements receive a promotion or raise over the other, this can cause feelings of unfairness, resentment or jealousy.
Receiving little recognition for performances: Some employees may receive more recognition than others for handling challenging assignments or solving difficult problems. Seeing this praise can cause an employee to feel underappreciated for the work put into their assignments.
Getting preferred and interesting work assignments: Employees may feel they’re not getting fair treatment if others receive work assignments that are more enjoyable or contain tasks geared more toward their preferences or interests.
Tips for handling workplace jealousy
Sometimes workplace jealousy can be unavoidable, especially if one employee regularly receives promotions, raises or more desirable assignments than the other. Fortunately, there are many ways to identify and resolve it to maintain a positive, collaborative and professional work environment. Use these tips to help you properly handle workplace jealousy:
Remain humble and modest
If one employee receives promotions or raises over another, encourage them to remain humble and modest. Share encouraging words to help motivate them to improve their work performance, so they can receive the same positive benefits the other employees earned. Tell employees to remain professional at all times and encourage them to celebrate victories with friends or family outside the office, rather than sharing it with other employees still working toward a promotion or raise.
Teach new skills to others
Find ways to help employees improve their performances and support them as they reach their own achievements. This allows them to feel supported and motivated. It can also motivate other employees to assist and support team members regularly, which decreases any feelings of jealousy or resentment. Offer to help them learn any skills they may lack and provide your advice and guidance. Your positive attitude may help them learn and grow and remain positive about their own work performance and supportive of others’ success.
Be willing to learn and try new things
While it’s important to teach skills, you should also demonstrate your willingness to gain new abilities. Ask employees what you can do to be a better leader and to help them improve. Suggest coworkers ask for and share advice and tips on how to complete certain projects. This helps everyone feel like they’re treated equally and that they each have beneficial qualities to offer one another. It can also make employees feel like they’re part of a team, rather than competing with others.
Remind employees of their abilities
If jealous coworkers are causing others to question their skill sets, meet with them privately to reflect on their strengths and abilities. Remind them of their talents and assess the capabilities they have. If they seem discouraged, encourage them to clear their mind by going on a walk, meditating or exercising. This can create a more positive mindset and better prepare them for any negative comments coworkers may direct at them.
Set professional goals
It can be easier for employees to ignore the negative actions of jealous coworkers if you help them set and focus on their own professional goals. Set career objectives for employees to hit and establish a plan for how to reach them. You can extend this planning to your entire team by encouraging other members to map out their future at the company or in their fields together. This builds awareness of each other’s goals and allows you all to use your training and expertise to help others reach certain objectives.
Support and respect others
Remain positive at all times, even around jealous coworkers. Try to find ways to turn situations into positive ones when they seem upset, discouraged or confused. For example, if their presentation received less positive feedback than another employee’s, tell them what you enjoyed about it. You can also offer to help them with upcoming projects to ensure they perform effectively next time.
Work to find different ways throughout the workday to be supportive. Congratulate them when they complete a challenging task or offer help with larger time-consuming projects. Offering support and mutual respect allows them to build and value a working relationship with you and others, which can eliminate any feelings of spite or jealousy.
Listen to others
Some coworkers may feel jealous of others because they feel they’re underachieving or not receiving enough appreciation from management or team members. If you notice an employee acting jealous or negative around you, take time to ask them if they need to talk. This shows them you’re there to listen, help and support them. It can also allow you to better understand why they’re acting out. You can offer emotional support to lift their emotions or help them locate the resources they need to succeed.
Be vocal about their accomplishments
If you notice an employee hitting milestones and accomplishing impressive goals, mention it to them in front of others. Acknowledge them for their impressive work performance via group emails, the team’s business communication platform or meetings. This makes them feel proud and appreciated for their accomplishments.