Do you feel like your coworker is competing with you? Yes, competition in the workplace can be beneficial, allowing colleagues to work hard and strive for excellence. However, when a colleague takes competition too far, it can negatively affect morale and productivity.
In the case of having a tough competition mindset, the colleague will constantly be trying to exceed you, transforming even the most mundane tasks into a competition. When this happens, it is important to set boundaries and remind colleagues that their drive for victory should not come at the expense of their fellow employees.
Here are some of the signs that your coworker may be considering you as a rival:
Treats You Poorly
1. Interrupts You In Meetings
It may be easy to assume that someone who continuously interrupts you is expressing disagreement with you when in reality, they are simply seeking attention. This can be because they are feeling insecure about their abilities and feel that they must take something away from others to get noticed. It could also be because they are afraid of being outshone or that your ideas will be better received than theirs. Alternatively, they may feel they must compete with you to keep their position on the team.
2. Mocks You In Front Of Others
People who make fun of you or put you down in front of others may do so because they feel threatened by your success or power. By attempting to harm your reputation in front of others, they try to ensure that everyone knows they are superior to you and cannot be challenged. This can take the form of spreading rumors about you or making jokes about your incompetence, regardless of whether it is done out loud or behind your back.
3. Close Body Language
It can sometimes be difficult to tell if someone is uncomfortable around you, but there are a few tell-tale signs. They may avoid making eye contact, or their gaze may dart away from yours if they feel threatened. Body language is also a good indicator; if they stand with their arms crossed or their body language is closed off, it could mean they are attempting to protect themselves from exposing themselves to others.
4. Dominates The Conversation
In many workplace environments, it can be difficult to stay competitive, especially when faced with a rival coworker. For example, if you were in a meeting with clients to discuss a project and your coworker dominated the conversation by giving valid points, they may be trying to make you look incompetent in front of them. Furthermore, if they withhold important information from you, it can be even more harmful as it renders you out of the loop and further portrays you as incapable. It is important to remain aware of such behavior in the workplace and take steps to protect yourself and your reputation.
Keeps An Eye On You
5. Minding Your Work, Not Theirs
It can be disconcerting when a colleague is overly competitive and starts monitoring your work closely. They may be trying to gain an advantage by discovering your mistakes, so they can outdo you, which can be annoying or even demotivating. It’s important to set boundaries and let your coworker know they shouldn’t go beyond what is needed to complete tasks. It may help to explain to them that the goal of the workplace is to work together as a team and that their competitiveness should not come at the expense of their coworkers.
6. Wanting The Same Tasks As Yours
In addition, they would try to get the jobs often assigned to you—or the better ones—so you will be left with the less appealing ones. They do this to take the limelight and will do anything to keep you from being recognized. They may even try to make you look unproductive.
7. Always Criticizing Your Work
It’s okay to receive criticism if it’s meant to help you learn and grow. However, if the coworker always finds fault with everything you do and tells you how to do it better, then they may be threatened by you. Therefore, they always monitor your work and nitpick on them to find any mistake they can complain about.
8. Threatened By Your Progress
Someone may feel threatened by any signs of your growth at work. For instance, they begin to act colder or harsher toward you after you have received the employee of the month award. Or they don’t seem happy whenever your boss congratulates you on a job well done.
9. Works Longer Than You
It is an absolute sign that a coworker is competing with you if they start working for longer hours. For example, if you are doing overtime to meet deadlines, they may think you are trying to impress the boss and will start to work for longer hours, ensuring that they work more than you do in a day.
Tries To Sabotage You
10. Spreading Rumors About You
If your skills or accomplishments threaten someone, they can try to damage your reputation by spreading rumors about you. This can take many forms ranging from small comments to more serious accusations. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to remember that the other person is likely jealous and trying to make you feel bad. To protect yourself, try to maintain a professional attitude, focus on your work, and don’t let their words get to you. It can also be helpful to talk to a manager or HR representative about the situation so that they can address it and ensure it doesn’t continue.
If you suspect that a coworker withholds necessary information to make you look bad, it is important to take immediate action. Speak to your boss and explain the situation, provide any evidence you have, and be sure to document any interactions you have with the coworker in question. If the problem persists, it may be a good idea to talk to HR and make sure they are aware of the situation as well. Additionally, stay focused on your work and try to find other ways to get the information you need without relying on the coworker in question. This will help protect you from being blamed for mistakes resulting from not being updated with important information.
12. Steals Your Ideas
It can be incredibly frustrating when a coworker takes credit for an idea or project you initially suggested. This is a common occurrence in competitive work environments and can be difficult to handle. Instead of being discouraged, work harder to be heard during brainstorming and presentations. If your ideas are valuable and helpful, your coworkers and boss will soon recognize this.
How To Deal With Them
Being aware of the signs that your coworker is competing with you can be beneficial in improving working relationships in the workplace. In addition, understanding the underlying reasons why they may feel this way can allow you to address their concerns and build a stronger bond. Always remember that communication is essential in getting to the root of the issue and coming up with a mutual resolution. Thus, an open and honest dialogue about the situation will be the most effective way to resolve the problem.
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