Have you heard the phrase: “It’s a jungle out there?” You don’t want that to apply to your workplace but it happens. A toxic workplace can be a competitive environment and your accomplishments may fuel feelings of jealousy in others, silently wishing for you to make mistakes.
Being the subject of envy at work could lead to challenges, but what’s worse is getting the stink eye from your manager. A study in the Harvard Business Review shows that supervisors feel envy toward employees who they see as “having strong social skills, demonstrates leadership potential, develops close relationships with senior management, or is seen as a source of innovative ideas.”
Here are some signs your boss may secretly be jealous of you:
Gossip may seem like a way to build rapport with colleagues and to lighten the mood, but if your manager always singles you out with your teammates, this could be a sign that they envy you. Although it’s natural for people to succumb to the temptation of office gossip, it undermines a boss’s trust in those working directly under them and decreases the team morale.
Gossiping also shows feelings of a manager’s insecurity, and they gossip as a means of self-assurance — especially if these talks care less about constructive criticisms and focus on private and personal matters instead.
Envious managers may be reluctant to give their employees opportunities to shine, fearing about being overshadowed. Have you felt that your achievements are ignored or downplayed by your boss? This could be a sign that they’re jealous of you – and may even leave you out of conversations to limit your influence and visibility within the team.
Be wary if your boss doesn’t give you regular performance reviews or hinders your career development in the workplace.
Are you happy and content with the work you’ve been doing, but somehow your boss seems to be dropping hints of job openings in other companies? Have they also encouraged you to move with a different team within the company? They may be trying to get rid of you.
Even though it may be good to consider progressing your career, you have to be in control of that, not your boss. Career development should go according to your own goals, not someone else’s convenience.
Our work is most often a team game but it is still important to have ownership of what you do. This gets tricky when your boss seems to be taking all the credit for your good work. They might be repacking your ideas, strategies, and solutions as their own, attempting to link your success to their leadership, or even editing reports and project documentation to reflect that they played a more significant role than what they actually did.
Be prepared with your own evidence in case this happens to you, or have a trusted co-worker to watch your back for you. Consider keeping track of your own contribution and document it accordingly — after all, you never know when your boss may decide to suddenly drop the ball on you.
Experiencing one or more of these things listed can be traumatic, especially when the person who’s supposed to be rooting for you is the one hindering your growth. My advice for you is to do your best to find a new situation and reclaim your peace in the workplace. Here’s how:
Setting up a call with your boss could be a good start. Use this time to assess the situation and see how your relationship may be improved. Approach the talk with caution and seek clarity through open communication, and keep it as professional as possible.
If the situation doesn’t get better after your meeting with your boss, be productive and find something – or someone – that’s good for you. You don’t have to be miserable at work or tolerate a boss who’s not there for you.
I know it may sound counterintuitive but I do not recommend you immediately go to HR. Instead, it would be better to talk to someone you trust or other senior leaders regarding your situation and seek advice from them on how to go about it.
Navigating the corporate world and professional relationships can be challenging, and having a boss jealous of you requires resilience and strategic finesse. Instead of succumbing to the negativity that envy can breed, focus on your own growth and continue delivering exceptional results. With support from your co-workers and other senior managers, you will work together to get you in a better work situation and be in a positive culture where you can thrive.
Learn the strategies for your resume, interviews, and emails that have helped our clients land roles at Tesla, Google, J.P. Morgan, Adidas, and more.