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When You Envy an Employee

Jealousy cuts both ways

by on
in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

As the boss, you figure some of your staff will covet your position. Maybe so. But it’s also surprisingly common for managers to envy an employee who possesses certain strengths or charisma that they lack.

You may wish you had a worker’s good looks, natural leadership skills or technical prowess. Such “gifts” can lead you to resent the individual.

If you’re jealous of an employee, don’t let this work against you. Instead, turn your negative attitude into admiration. Not only will this approach help you feel better about yourself, but your refusal to be cowed or threatened will enable you to use an employee’s strengths to your advantage.

Here’s how to keep your jealousy in check:

Observe and learn. If you convince yourself that you’re incapable of acquiring the traits or skills that you see in others, your envy will grow and fester. Never let such powerlessness affect your attitude.

Like a scientist, isolate a specific reason why you envy an employee. Then identify ways in which you can improve, based on extracting lessons from what you observe.

Example: You wish you could have an employee’s attractive figure or physique. You notice that this person snacks on vegetables all day and maintains a daily exercise regimen. So you stop noshing on candy and start daily gym workouts.

Turn your admiration to action. Rather than envy employees’ abilities from afar, tap their talents to make your job easier. Harness a worker’s strengths by putting those assets to work in more ambitious ways.

If you’ve got a born leader, assign that person to convince your whole team to comply with new workplace rules. If a clerk has a head for numbers, train him to help you plan the budget. If an intern has computer savvy that you wish you had, ask her to design a tutorial to teach everyone a new software program.

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