How to Handle a jealous Co-Worker?

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Beat Green Vibes

An office environment has all kinds of people and along with your actual work your profession will also need you to handle various emotions. Jealous co-workers will also be a commonplace occurrence and here is you how you handle them.

Office politics is an everyday issue that any working woman needs to deal with. This can manifest in several forms and one of the nastier ways is a jealous co-worker. A situation that is complicated as it may not manifest immediately. The co-worker may in fact pretend to be a well wisher in the garb of harbouring envious feelings. While this is certainly not a pleasant situation, it is one that needs you to address it. Most work environments today are designed to be competitive spaces. Organizations create competition and hope to achieve fruitful results. Jealousy amongst other debilitating emotions is bound to thrive if the root cause is not addressed. Very often, jealousy is not just about work, most of the time it is to do with factors like your age, agility, your personality, sense of style, advanced communication skills, your level of degree or even social status. It is important to understand the multiple variables involved to jealousy and how one must deal with them. “The best way however, is to either have an ally, understanding their perspective or just a good sense of humour. Anything can be diluted or muted down with making the situation light hearted, this in no way means laughing at your jealous colleague because that might backfire but making the most out the situation, letting them know this does not affect you and looking at petty issues with a humorous approach,” says Meha Bhargava, Image Consultant and Founder CEO of Styl.Inc Image Consultancy. However what approach you take will largely depend on the exact situation you are facing. Here are some ideas on how you can handle envy at the workplace.

Think and Act

When dealing with a jealous co-worker, first hold back the urge to react. Reaction in anger or confrontation can cause the assumption of jealous behaviour to spiral into a major relationship issue. It is a time to remain calm and display your strength of character and make authentic efforts to resolve the issues. This may come across as something that is easier said than done. How do you work on yourself to deal with this in an effective manner? Self- awareness and an objective awareness of the environment can catalyze a change in mindset – a mindset of interdependence. This is a mindset that enables an individual to view situations as interpersonal interactions and constantly seek mutual benefit. This goes a long way in creating a win-win situation for all concerned.

Talking to your Manager

If you are constantly subjected to jealously that is impacting your work negatively then it is a good idea to talk to your immediate manager to address the issue. While you do this make sure that you have documented all work-related discussions so that they leave less room for potential conflict and misinterpretations.

Be Professional

It is always good to stay professional and avoid any unnecessary conversation with such colleagues. “However, if you happen to come across any controversial issue try to clear out the situation as soon as possible by talking to that colleague personally. Always try to stay calm while reacting to any conversation and maintain records of any confrontation as a proof so that it doesn’t work against you in future,” says Meha.

Keep an open mind

When dealing with a co-worker who comes from a position of being overly competitive and insecure, it helps to display genuine courtesy, respect and appreciation for the individual and her point of view. “Listen to her and listen deeply. Don’t over react but express yourself with greater consideration and courage. If you are proactive about the issues that may come up and bring forth your strength of character, you will eventually get this person to realize that you genuinely want a resolution that is mutually beneficial. The more authentic and committed you are, the more powerful your influence will be. It will build trust which is the key element for any relationship to work. It creates synergy and an environment conducive for team work,” says Sandhya Mathur, Founder and CEO, Inward Focus and Senior Faculty at Symbiosis Coaching.

Be Objective

Develop the capability to listen and understand perspective. “Deep and empathetic listening is therapeutic and is the key to creating an emotional connect.  Listen to understand what matters to your co-worker. Only then can you influence and work on a solution .This has to be genuine and well received by the other person. Through this communication based on understanding and trust synergistic solutions can be created. In a regular work environment, not all situations will be resolved in a mutually beneficial manner. If there is trust and readiness for dialogue some synergy can be created in spite of disagreements. There is wide range of effective styles to deal with situations with colleagues and co-workers. The aim is to create a style that embodies the best possible alignment between our skills, knowledge, natural traits and passions. The awareness of the self through introspection and the subsequent focus on managing relationships along with a genuine desire to contribute to creating and managing synergy  does create the ability to deal with most situations,” says Sandhya. The bottom line is to believe in oneself and reject all the negative energy that touches you.

Ignore It

Aditya Narayan Mishra, CEO – CIEL HR Services says, “ignoring is the best that one can do. Getting entangled with those thoughts is not going to help me. So, I need to let go those feelings. Let her preserve and guard her jealousy all by herself.  If it impacts my work, for example, when we are expected to work together, then I must just try keeping away the feeling of having a jealous person beside me. It’s not easy, I understand. It’s very saintly to not let jealousy impact you. So, let’s be practical that I am not going to be benefited if I dealt with her jealousy towards me in any way. Hence, one should just avoid those thoughts as much as one can.”


  • Document all work-related discussions.
  • Stay cheerful and focused on work.
  • Be good to him/her in spite of you being suspicious of his/her jealousy.
  • Always try initiating a healthy conversation with your colleague.
  • Respect your colleague and avoid being a part of any gossip against that particular person.
  • Never compare yourself with your co-worker.
  • Don’t talk behind your colleague’s back.

This story appeared in the Femina South Split in the December 30, 2016 issue:



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