20 Frustrating Signs Coworkers Are Intimidated By You

20 Frustrating Signs Coworkers Are Intimidated By You
Photo by StockSnap

Have you ever thought about how to identify if your coworkers are intimidated by you? When you threaten your colleagues, they tend to avoid seeking your assistance and may not communicate effectively with you, which can harm productivity.

Although it may be challenging to discern if someone is intimidated in a virtual environment where body language is not visible, you can still observe their tone of voice and how they speak.

Body Language

1. They Cross Arms.

If you notice that your colleagues often cross their arms when you’re talking to them, there’s a big chance they see you as a threat. Crossing one’s arms can be seen as a defensive stance and offer a feeling of reassurance to the person if they feel intimidated.

2. They Avoid Eye Contact.

When individuals sense a threat or feel intimidated, they tend to unconsciously use a subtle mechanism of avoiding eye contact to shield themselves from you.

3. Their Bodies Turn Away From You.

If you can observe that your colleagues’ bodies are often turned away from you when talking, it could be a sign that they want to flee the scene immediately. It seems like they can stand your presence.

4. They Are Stiff.

If someone feels extremely intimidated, their body may become rigid as they fear that any movement may trigger a negative response from you.

5. Their Facial Expression Suddenly Changes When You’re Around.

Your coworker’s facial expressions may change when they look at you, indicating discomfort or lack of trust in you. This can cause them to feel threatened and insecure, which might make them impolite when communicating with you.

6. They Stay Away From Your Path.

If colleagues feel uneasy in your presence and lack the confidence to communicate with you, they will avoid any opportunities to interact. They become mindful of your presence and absence, allowing them to feel at ease in that setting. Coworkers may attempt to maintain a distance from you, either due to shyness or envy.

Unpleasant Behaviors

7. They Talk About You Behind Your Back.

If your colleagues are intimidated by you, they may employ unethical tactics to harm your reputation in front of others. They might view you as a potential threat to their relationships with other colleagues or management, causing them to use gossip to defame you and diminish your standing.

8. They Attempt To Distract You.

Be aware that some colleagues may attempt to divert your attention from your tasks to keep you from impressing your superiors. It’s essential to take notice of colleagues who engage in insignificant conversations during busy periods or assign you to unrelated errands that take you away from your primary responsibilities. It’s probable that these coworkers intentionally try to distract you when your boss observes.

9. They Ignore You.

Frequently, when people encounter you face to face, you do not pose a danger to them. You may not realize that your mere presence is causing unease for those nearby. However, if you have a colleague who harbors negative feelings towards you, even a seemingly casual interaction can create discomfort for them. If you find yourself in this scenario, take a break from the conversation and allow some time to pass before trying to engage with them again.

10. They Talk Over You.

It might seem simple to assume that a person who frequently interrupts you doesn’t share your views. However, the reality is that individuals who interrupt others are often seeking recognition and acknowledgment. They may feel uncertain about their competencies and believe they must detract from others to receive attention.

20 Frustrating Signs Coworkers Are Intimidated By You
Photo by reallywellmadedesks

11. They Try To Make You Feel Like An Outsider.

Your coworkers may behave as if you are not part of the team and may go out of their way to ensure you are aware of this. For example, they may exclude you from meetings or disregard your input during important decisions.

12. They Exclude You.

When colleagues attempt to demonstrate their dominance over you, they may try to isolate you to achieve a sense of control. They omit you from group emails or chats, resulting in you missing important work-related information. Also, you may notice that your coworker never wants to hang out with you outside of work, and when others invite you to events like happy hours or birthday parties, they always find an excuse to decline.


13. They Always Criticize Your Performance.

Constructive criticism aimed at improving your work is acceptable and helps individuals develop and progress. However, if you consistently receive negative feedback and are told how to improve your work, despite already putting effort into it, it’s possible that they feel intimidated by you.

14. They Take The Credit Meant For You.

Do you feel like your coworkers are not acknowledging your diligent efforts? This is another hint that your coworkers are intimidated by you. Worse, whenever you have great ideas or contributions to the team, they make it appear it’s all thanks to them. When colleagues feel intimidated by their coworkers, they believe that their own contributions or achievements are being disregarded. That’s why they may resort to stealing the spotlight from others.

15. They Attempt To Micromanage You.

Have you experienced being excessively controlled by colleagues who are not your managers? If so, you may be in the same position as those who feel intimidated by their coworkers. It’s advisable to be cautious if coworkers with similar tenure criticize your work consistently and insist on directing you on the “correct” approach to doing your job. Additionally, if these individuals are compelled to report every minor mistake you make to the supervisor, you can be confident that they are intimidated by you.

16. They Never Agree With You.

You may observe that your colleagues frequently initiate arguments with you, undermine your credibility, and oppose everything you say. Such actions could potentially constitute harassment or a strategic effort to force you out of your employment.

17. They Try To Sound Impressive To Intimidate You.

If someone starts telling you their fabricated work details out of nowhere, it could be a sign that they feel threatened by your work history and want to appear superior to you. This is not your fault; they should not share their work history with you unless relevant to a job interview.

18. They Are Threatened By Your Progress.

Another sign that your coworkers are intimidated by you is their adverse reaction whenever you achieve something. For instance, you have been promoted at work, or your boss complimented you for your improved performance in the past months. These colleagues would not congratulate you. You may even hear them downplaying your success.

20 Frustrating Signs Coworkers Are Intimidated By You
Photo by Tumisu

19. They Always Want To Prove They’re Better Than You.

Your colleagues might continuously try to demonstrate their superiority over you to prove their worth. For instance, they would insist on being the team leader of a project rather than you, claiming they’re more experienced. This behavior may indicate that they feel insecure or intimidated by you and believe that diminishing you will make them feel more confident.

20. They Attempt To Sabotage You.

Colleagues may attempt to sabotage your efforts, ranging from making sarcastic remarks to obstructing tasks or assignments. They may even enlist others to turn against you by spreading unfounded rumors. Their behavior could also be indirect and passive-aggressive in nature. Other examples would be excluding you from important meetings, withholding crucial information during project talks, and failing to respond promptly to your calls or emails.

How To Deal With It

Certain factors may be at play if you suspect that your coworkers are intimidated by you. By recognizing these factors, you can take measures to relieve the tension and enhance your professional rapport.

Online courses recommended for you:

Books recommended for you:


21 Ways to be a Better Boss


Cyril Abello
Joan is a freelance blogger who loves writing about personal development. She also loves learning and teaching languages. A Communication Arts graduate, she now pursues a masters degree in Language Teaching. She is into mobile photography, writing poems, and reading for leisure.
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments