The Cost of Envy at Work: From Mentor to Saboteur

We don’t talk much about the impact that comparing ourselves to others in the workplace has on our stress levels and sense of psychological safety. But we are this week!

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Today I’m sharing a scenario from our Respect at Work Psychological Safety training that highlights the story of two colleagues, Tracey & Paige, who were paired together for a leadership development program. While Paige was a rising star in the company, Tracey struggled with her own feelings of inadequacy and comparison as she discovered that Paige had a skillset that she did not possess.

Tracey’s feelings of envy and insecurity led to a series of behaviors that made Paige feel unsafe and unsure of her future at Mako Airways. As you watch this scenario, I encourage you to put yourself in both Tracey & Paige’s shoes as they try to navigate this sticky situation.

Comparison and lack of confidence can lead to feelings of anxiety, stress, and jealousy, all of which can impact psychological safety in the workplace. It’s natural to feel intimidated by others who seem to have skills or qualities that you lack, but it’s important to work through those feelings in a healthy and productive way.

Avoiding or sabotaging colleagues will only lead to negative outcomes for everyone involved. Instead, try to focus on your own strengths and work collaboratively with others to achieve shared goals. With a little bit of self-reflection and compassion, you can create a more positive and productive workplace for yourself and your colleagues.

Here are some additional steps you can take to promote psychological safety in the face of envy:

👥 Encourage open communication: Encourage employees to communicate openly and honestly with one another. Creating a safe space for dialogue and feedback can help prevent misunderstandings and promote healthy collaboration.

🤝 Foster a culture of respect: Create a culture of respect and inclusivity where everyone’s contributions are valued. Recognize and appreciate diversity in skillsets, backgrounds, and perspectives.

🙅🏽 Address negative behaviors: Address negative behaviors, such as gossiping, bullying, or exclusionary practices, promptly and effectively. These behaviors can erode psychological safety and create a toxic work environment.

🏫 Promote learning and growth: Encourage employees to learn new skills and grow professionally. This can help alleviate feelings of inadequacy and encourage a growth mindset.

This week’s scenario comes from our Respect at Work Psychological Safety training. Our training consists of employee-centered Psychological Safety conversations and team building exercises which will help employee’s learn tools for managing stress, explore the consequences of what they say and do, consider the assumptions they make about those they work with, and redefine what it means to contribute to a psychologically safe work environment. Use the link below to grab our free guide with more tips!