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How to Handle Jealousy at Work

Feeling jealous in a professional setting is a difficult feeling to work through. Jealousy is sneaky because while the feeling is derived from thoughts of insecurity or fear, jealousy often shows up as emotions, like anger, resentment, or helplessness. These emotions can lead to negative actions, such as being sarcastic to a coworker, sending an angry email to your project team, or giving up on an opportunity that could move you forward.

Many clients I coach and team members I manage have trouble admitting when they are feeling jealous of someone, especially at work. But that is precisely what I work with them to do because labeling the feeling is the first way to reduce its intensity.

Once you have identified jealousy, you can use the questions below to unpack the feeling and flip those negative emotions and actions into positive ones. Look at how I coached a client through feelings of jealousy she had over a coworker receiving more attention from the boss.

What makes you think…your coworker gets more attention?

Can you think of a time when you did receive the attention you seek?

Why is receiving more attention from your boss so important to you?

What steps can you take to…get more attention from your boss?

Personally, I like to think of jealousy as a little trigger that lets me know when I am slacking. Jealousy forces me to pause and reassess what is important to me and how I want to show up professionally.

Everyone has feelings of jealousy at one time or another. What’s important is that you take the time to understand and appreciate those jealous feelings and learn how to use them to your advantage.

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