How to Cope with Jealousy in the Workplace

Jealousy in the workplace is all too common. Receiving acknowledgements or promotions in the workplace is a joyous occasion, there are others in the workplace that may not take to kindly to the advancement of others. The green eyed monster can rear its ugly head in the form of office gossip, rude or unwarranted negative comments and attempts to sabotage a person’s career.  If the problem persists, it can lead to conflicts in the workplace, professional reprimands and termination.

There are ways to cope with jealousy in the work place.

Causes of Jealousy

Jealousy is the feeling of resentment toward another person due to the person’s rivalry, success or advantages. It is also driven by fear and insecurity. Jealousy occurs in the workplace due to the emotions of people who think that “it should have been them” vs the other person, feeling as though the person did not deserve the promotion or feeling as though they were not afforded the same opportunities to prove themselves in order to receive the promotion or acknowledgement. There are many reasons for jealousy to manifest itself in the workplace; competing for scarce resources or limited budgets, and lobbying for prestigious assignments or appointments, are common situations that can cause jealousy in the workplace.

Ways to Manage Workplace Jealousy

Although you want to fit in at work and not seem like an outcast, staying to yourself is not a bad idea. Clichés at work can cause unwanted tension, stress and unprofessionalism in the workplace. You can avoid this by:

  • Not engaging in office gossip
  • Maintaining a professional attitude
  • Maintain productivity
  • Accept others and their flaws, as they are human
  • Consult with Management or HR if necessary
  • Set aside your negative feelings about the jealousy
  • Prove that you were the right candidate for the promotion

Leaving a job due to tension in the workplace is not always the right move. After all, there will be jealousy in any workplace regardless of where you are. Do not allow the negative feelings of others to stop or delay your career or success with an organization. Keep in mind that you earned that promotion and the company saw something in you that could assist the company in moving to the next level. Be proud of yourself and your accomplishments and do not allow your career to be jeopardized due to the jealousy of others.

Managing Jealousy in the Workplace

It is important for management to understand that jealousy in the workplace is alive and well and extremely common. Although Managers cannot totally alleviate the feelings of others and their jealousy, there are ways to manage it before it gets out of control. When considering a candidate for a promotion or other acknowledgement of their success and contribution to the company, make sure that it is well deserved. Nothing causes tension worse in a workplace then promoting someone that truly did not earn it. To ensure that you are being fair with your selection, it is important to be able to prove or document the contributions, savings, obstacles that the person has conquered, successful implementations, etc. This will eliminate any speculation of unfairness in the workplace.

Communication is also very important in the workplace. Making objectives, standards, roles and requirements is very important. This will provide all employees with the opportunity to prove themselves and allow their work to speak for them. Once the promotion has occurred and an employee still feels jilted from the selection, this is the opportunity for mentoring, training and development to occur. Have a one on one with the employee to go over their accomplishments or lack thereof with the company and set out a game plan for improvement to enable them to be a viable candidate for the next promotion. Provide them with the tools that are needed to ensure that they reach the next level. Set the employees up for success within the organization. This will not only benefit the company, but it will ultimately allow the employee to work more diligently and make them feel good about themselves that they are contributing something toward the company.



How to Resolve Workplace Conflict

Conflict in the workplace is something that occurs in almost every business institution. Even though people may not be able to avoid it, there are ways to cope with it and resolve the conflict. Conflict occurs because individuals can be envious, lack proper communication skills, are suffering from anxiety or conflict in their personal life or any number of reasons. It is important to know how to deal with workplace conflict. If two people find out that they cannot resolve the issues themselves, they should involve management or human.

Sometimes having someone involved who is not party to the conflict is a good way to get an unbiased opinion of someone that can really help. Be sure that the person is management or trustworthy to minimize the amount of gossip throughout the office. Listed below are a few ways to deal with conflict in the workplace. Both parties should be sure to keep an open mind when trying to resolve their issues.

1.  Determine the root cause of the conflict- The real issue of the conflict may not be what the argument is really about. Through discussion, make sure that both people know exactly what the conflict is about. People often times take things the wrong way or out of context, they may even exacerbate an issue that really is not there. Taking the time to be honest and discuss exactly why the conflict exist can be extremely beneficial. It may just all be a misunderstanding.

2.   Accept the other persons view of the issue-If you do not listen to the other person’s side of the story or at minimum try to understand why they feel the way that they do, you will not be able to move forward in resolving the issue. Validating the other’s perception does not mean agreeing with them, it means that you are mature enough to understand that other opinions exist other than yours.

3.   Be specific about your issues-Giving broad statements about the way that you are feeling is not helpful. Be sure to be as specific as possible when discussing your conflicts to ensure that nothing is left out. Being specific is also a good way to avoid thinking that someone should have known what you meant, or pulling terms and statements out of thin air hoping that the other person will “catch your drift”. This will ensure that the same actions that caused the initial conflict, will not be repeated down the road.

4.  Use discretion- A workplace that thrives on gossip is a recipe for disaster. Often times, employees will take sides with one another during conflict. This just adds fuel to the fire. This leads to more chance of false statements being made, accusations being thrown at one another, and others getting involved who had absolutely nothing to do with the original issue. Have discreet  one-on-one talks with the other person, or if necessary, management or HR. Establish an understanding before the resolution talks begin that what is said between the parties will be kept confidential.

5.  Communicate, Communicate, Communicate- Good communication can solve or prevent almost any conflict. Being able to communicate with someone in a way that does not offend them, is of the utmost importance. There are ways to communicate professionally without making someone feel inferior or inadequate. Constructive criticism is a good way for co-workers to give their professional opinion about the work habits of someone. Just be sure to give constructive criticism that is meaningful and meant to uplift the person and help them to grow professionally. It is also good to be mindful of communication styles when dealing with someone of a different culture. Their way of communication can be totally different than what you are accustomed to. The last thing that you want to do is cause conflict with someone unintentionally because you were not aware of the culture difference between you to and how things may come across to them.

6.   Agree to Disagree Agree to let each other say everything that is on your minds. Once both parties have been able to express their issues, you should agree to disagree. This just means that you both acknowledge that there is or has been a problem and you have addressed it and will move forward on a positive note. It does not mean that you have to become best buds in the office. It means that you agree to be professional, work well together and avoid causing future confrontations.

7.   Document the action taken. Both parties should agree to have it documented that they attempted to resolve their conflict. This probably should be mandatory if management or HR is involved. Documentation is important, it allows each person to hold each other accountable for their part in resolving their differences. Documentation will also be important if the problem persist and unfortunate legal action arises stemming from this issues.

Putting these steps into action should resolve any workplace conflict. Other steps may be necessary depending on the complexity of the issue.

Do Your Employees Represent Your Company Culture?

The decision to start your own firm is a huge step. You ponder whether or not you can handle it, whether or not you will be successful, or even how you will financially support yourself until clients start beating down your door. After the nervousness disappears and the excitement kicks in, you start planning. You know what you want your firm to represent and the clients that you want to attract. You meticulously plan your branding strategy. Then you should consider the type of culture that you want your firm to have.

Establishing a Culture

A culture is the values and practices shared by the members of the group. Thus, company culture is the shared values and practices of the company’s employees. You want your employees to embody the values that are set forth in your company culture. Your firm’s mission statement should incorporate the culture. The company culture is vital to its success because it can make or break your firm. Companies with a strong culture that is aligned to their business goals routinely outperform their competitors. To achieve those results for your firm, you have to first determine what your culture is, how you are going to implement it, and essentially guide your employees to achieve the desired culture.

Below is a list of cultures that companies have used to establish their culture. You can use these examples to determine which values best fits the culture of your firm.

  • Mission
  • Employee commitment
  • High integrity workplace
  • Strong trust relationships
  • Ethical values
  • Highly effective leadership
  • Effective systems and processes
  • Client driven
  • Emphasis on recruiting and retaining outstanding employees
  • High degree of adaptability
  • High accountability standards
  • Demonstrated support for innovation

Getting Employees on Board with the Culture

Company cultures can change over time for various reasons. A change in staff can affect the company culture. As employees leave the company and their replacements are hired, the firm’s culture will change. The replacement that was made may not live up to or embody the culture of the firm. However, since each new employee brings their own set of values and practices to the firm, the culture will change.

Any abnormalities in your firm’s culture can be reflected in the way that the firm operates, handles their clients, or normal daily tasks.  There are ways to prevent a major change to your firm’s culture. When hiring new employees, you should consider whether or not they will fit the culture of your firm. Firms have the option of hiring a staffing agency to provide them with a temporary employee. This will give you the opportunity to review the candidates work habits and overall adaptability to your firm before you hire them on full time. This will save you time and money from having to hire yet another person, just to make the fit.

Promoting values and actively demonstrating the office culture can be very healthy to a firm’s sustainability. Hold everyone accountable for their actions, especially those in leadership positions. Make sure that everyone is demonstrating the values established in your mission statement. Doing this will increase awareness and effectively communicate the expectations of all involved. This will lead to an increase of transferred skills and behavior that demonstrate the culture of the office.

  • Make new employees aware of the office culture when they begin their first day of work.
  • Review the culture in management and employee meetings and trainings.
  • Resolving any ethical or culture dilemmas that may arise in accordance with the guidelines will reinforce the belief that the company has in its culture.
  • Include ethical performance evaluations and appraisals.
  • Reward employees who demonstrate the culture of the firm.
  • Provide all employees within the office a copy of the company culture.

Applying these suggestions as well as your diligence for your firm to have a reputation of having a great culture will put you a path to success.

How to Handle Difficult Clients

Every attorney knows that with good clients, comes the bad ones. Difficult clients should be expected with any business. Obtaining and maintaining clients is an essential part of having a successful firm. The clients are what drive the firm to become more successful. Clients seek out the assistance of attorneys because they themselves do not possess the knowledge and understanding of the law to be able to represent themselves in a civil or criminal matter. Clients instill their trust and confidence in their attorney, and are usually happy with the job that they have done for them. Not all clients feel this way….

When your firm has a disgruntled client, damage control must be done immediately in order contain the problem before it gets worse.

Manage expectations from the beginning

Clients may sometimes have the expectation that attorneys are a cure all for their problems. When the solution or lack thereof does not go in their favor, they may place the blame on the attorney. Difficult clients are sometimes unwilling to make decisions about their legal issues and want the lawyer to do it for them. The attorney’s role is to help the client understand their options and make informed decisions. Your firm should manage the expectations of each and every one of your clients. The attorney handling the matter should give the client realistic expectations of what can happen. Promising too much in the beginning and under delivering in the end can cause problems with the attorney/client relationship.

The client should be made aware of all of the possibilities that could arise from the situation. They should know that past success is not a guarantee of future success. Giving the client the worst case scenario can be the best option. This way, the client will not be blindsided in the end, and wonder why you did not warn them that this could happen. Difficult clients are likely to be unhappy about fees, so you need to establish mutual expectations concerning billing and payment procedures for your services. It’s especially important to bill clients with high service expectations frequently and regularly, and to provide as much detail as possible, so they can understand the cost of those expectations.

Document Everything

Document everything you possibly can, including phone calls, voice-mail messages and e-mail messages. Confirm the client’s instructions to you in writing, and confirm your instructions to the client in writing. Include the possible consequences of various courses of action the client may be considering. These messages and instructions should be saved as part of the permanent record on file. This should be done for all clients that you represent, but it’s especially important for difficult clients. When clients are unhappy, they will blame the attorney more often and with more damaging consequences than other clients.

They do not get along with your staff

When your clients do not get along with your staff, that can cause tension in the relationship. Personalities may differ and when one person is thought to be unreasonable or not being attentive enough to the other’s needs, this can cause an undue hardship in the working relationship. To ease the tension between the client and a particular staff member, have someone else in the firm work directly with the client so that they do not have to interact with the person that they do not get along with. When hiring staff for your firm, it is important to choose someone who not only has the experience and knowledge in the field, but someone who is personable that is able to get along and work with every type of client that you may have. Your staff is an important part of your organization and they build and represent the culture and reputation of your firm. The staff should be able to identify difficult clients.  Being able to identify difficult clients and behaving in a way that minimizes those risks should be priority for the staff. They should be in the habit of documenting contacts, instructions or information regarding that particular client. Make sure they deal with these types of clients with extra care, understanding, and patience.