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.

Are You Dealing with Workplace Conflicts?

With various types of personalities and views in one place, workplace conflicts are bound to arise. They can occur in any size organization. Disagreements and conflicts are the norm in any workplace. With such diversity in the workplace, with different roles, goals and differences of opinions, there is an overwhelming need to resolve the differences in a positive way. Conflicts in the workplace can occur for many reasons. A lack of communication, hostile emotions and a lack of acceptable workplace behavior standards are causes for conflict in the workplace. Even if a person stays to themselves, trouble may still find them. While you can try to avoid conflict, you cannot escape it.

The fact is that conflict in the workplace is unavoidable. It will find you whether you look for it or not. Having the keen ability to recognize conflict and understand the nature of conflict, will help you find a resolution and bring the matter to a close before it escalates into something more.  In a management role, being able to recognize the signs of conflict and identifying the key aggravators will help you resolve the matter in a timely fashion. Having this quality will determine whether or not you are a leader in your organization. Being able to take this leadership role and make a positive outcome will force others in the office to follow in your footsteps and create a peaceful work environment.

Acquiring effective conflict resolution skills is an essential part of a containing the issue. Unresolved conflicts often times can result in low productivity, lack of teamwork, tension in the office and verbal disputes. Employers that fail to handle workplace conflict in the appropriate manner, or even at all will eventually lose their star employees. This can cause a high turnover rate in the office and the company’s failure to retain their employees. Employees do not want to work in a hostile environment where they feel as though they are being held back professionally as well as personally due to conflict in the office. Leaders within an organization are responsible for creating a work environment that enables people to thrive and evolve in their career.