Green-eyed monsters at work

Green-eyed monsters at work

It is possible that when you take a huge leap towards advancement in your career, you attract negative behaviour from colleagues who due to some...

People at work are trying to show me in a bad light as I am ahead of them at work. What should I do to overcome these pressures and concentrate on work? -C Yogesh

It is possible that when you take a huge leap towards advancement in your career, you attract negative behaviour from colleagues who due to some reason have not succeeded in reaching the position you are in. Rude and negative comments, envious glances and effort s to ruin your personal image and work can be the after effect of jealousy at workplace.

Jealousy is the result of a person’s insecurity or anxiousness about his importance or value. This tends to put a strain on relationships in office and causes problems. Workers could side with one employee over another, which leads to office gossip, sabotage and even bullying.

People often feel jealous and play politics to undermine your value. They criticise your work and down play your achievements. They try to bring you down to show they are better. Jealous coworkers can be a hindrance to your career progress and may even set traps for you to stumble into. Jealous colleagues may also try and jeopardise your relationship with seniors before a yearly review, says K S Bakshi, vice president, human resources at IndiGo Airlines.

Characteristics of work place jealousy

Workplace jealousy might remind you of high school all over again. Competitive workplace relationships add fuel to the fire making the environment tense and unpleasant. In the end, jealousy can lead to strife, resulting in hurt feelings and disappointment for those who get shunned or overlooked.

Gossip: According to an August 2012 article by Kristi Hedges on the Forbes website, ‘gossip is envy’s first cousin.’ Gossip usually forces workers to ostracise or isolate co-workers they find threatening or dominating and those they perceive to be the boss's favourite. As a result, gossip makes the workplace feel like a battle zone where negative emotions and animosity run wild.

Low Self-Esteem: Those who gossip about co-workers often suffer from a poor self-image and feel like they'll never measure up to others' success. Low self-esteem is a never-ending cycle because those who have low self-confidence aren't usually chosen for promotions and raises, leading to increased feelings of jealousy.

Sexual Competition: Sexual competition creates jealousy in the workplace, especially for those looking for a relationship with the opposite sex. The Live Science article ‘Workplace Jealousy and Envy Differ in Men and Women’ reports that sexual competition generally causes more jealousy and envy in women, but a rival's positive social skills can provoke jealousy in both men and women.

Single women tend to be jealous of other women who are attractive, outgoing and influential in the workplace, fearing they might take all the eligible bachelors. Both men and women are prone to be jealous of co-workers who have strong interpersonal skills and climb the corporate ladder faster than most.

Jealousy at workplace is often triggered by promotions, lack of recognition, favouritism and lack of team work. Learning how to deal with these at workplace can help you stay positive even in a negative environment.

Keep interactions at workplace professional

Excessive intimate talk with colleagues reduces professionalism. It inspires others to stick on to their jealous attitude. Try avoiding excessive conversation with jealous colleagues to avoid any kind of enmity.

Display non-competitive behaviour

Your colleagues can be jealous of you if they have an impression that you are being antagonistic. If you are antagonistic, you should realise that you have to work harmoniously to get the job done well and on time, instead of thinking about competitors and making a conscious effort to undermine them in front of the boss for your own benefit. This will help your colleagues to take you as a team player.

Try and be friendly

Be nice and cordial with everyone. If you do not interact with your colleagues and maintain good relations, it becomes the main reason for jealousy in the workplace.

Build, develop networks and support

Building relationships often helps you develop trusted, reliable and dependent relations with all the members.

Avoid confrontation

Is the jealous co-worker gossiping behind your back? Are you tempted to confront him?

Think again. According to Purva Mishra, VP, Make My Trip, by confronting and retaliating will further empower your colleague’s ammunition.

Neutralise negative play

"Keep your friends close and your enemies closer" applies perfectly to office politics.

Get to know these people better and be courteous to them. But always be very careful what you say to them. Understand their motivations and goals in order to avoid or counter the impact of negative politicking. Be aware that these people typically don't value their talents (that's why they rely on aggressive politicking to get ahead).

Put yourself in their shoes. Look into why they are being so bitter.

For instance, if they seem frustrated by the lack of recognition their work gets, make an effort to praise them. It helps to ease out the tension.

Are you also to blame?

Are you constantly flaunting your achievements with your co-workers? Do you boast about how much your boss likes you? Bad idea: this just stokes jealously and does you no good at work place.

By:N Radhika Acharya

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