by Geoff Gillette
It is only natural in a business environment to feel competitive with co-workers, to want to advance faster than others and to climb that ladder before everybody else. But the nature of the game is that no one wins all the time. So what do you do when someone in the office (rightly or wrongly) climbs the ladder a little faster than you?
The answer is not, “envy them, hate them and plot their ultimate downfall.”
Jealousy in a business context can create one of the worst environments imaginable in a work setting. It spreads a toxicity throughout the organization that leads to volatile relations and extreme challenges for HR departments.
Managers are trained to defuse those sorts of scenarios by avoiding either the appearance or the actuality of favoritism. But the reality is that it occurs every day. Some managers may not be aware of the environment they are creating, and some may simply not care. HR managers struggle with creating a viable working situation, but ultimately some of the burden has to rest on the employee as well.
Another area that HR teams work on, is counseling employees who perceive an unfavorable working situation where none exists. Just being passed over for a promotion does not mean that there is favoritism involved, though it can be difficult to see that when you are the one left behind when the decision is made.
How you, as an employee, react to a competitive situation can make a world of difference both in your own work-a-day experience as well as the overall culture of your workplace. An article by Natalie Grace in the Houston Chronicle does a nice job of outlining the types of workplace jealousy one could encounter as well as giving some solid tips on how to deal with it.
For employees who are passed over and feel it was unjust a few things to try:
Conversely, a few things not to do:
Jealousy in the workplace is extremely unproductive and makes for uncomfortable situations. Try to communicate in situations where you start to feel the bite of the green-eyed monster and see what you can do to defuse a potentially toxic situation.
Tell us in the comments, have you run into situations of jealousy in the workplace? How’d they turn out?