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How To Deal With Insecure Coworkers


Learning how to deal with insecure coworkers is probably one of the most difficult challenges in the workplace today. We don't get to pick who our coworkers will be, unfortunately. No matter where we go or what company we decide to work for, the chances are good that we have to deal with people that act negatively towards us for one reason or another. One of the worst types of people to deal with on the job are those who have feelings of insecurity within themselves.

The first step to dealing with an insecure coworker is recognizing whether or not you have become a target of their insecurities. Sometimes, a person like this can be easy to work with until you get some type of promotion or recognition at work. Then, you will notice a change in their behavior. Unlike the jealous coworker who will make snide remarks, the insecure coworker may suddenly appeared worried, preoccupied or even afraid of you. They will then seek to compensate for that fear by doing  things that drive other people nuts at work.

Do you have a coworker who:

  1. Only speaks to you to point out a mistake?
  2. Tattle tales every little deed you do to a supervisor?
  3. Never smiles or greets you?
  4. Acts tough and mean all the time while in your presence?

If you have ever met someone like this at work, they are insecure and you are being targeted because they see you as some type of a threat. It might be that you are a new employee who is doing a great job. Maybe you and the boss have a great rapport with each other. It could be for any number of reasons. Maybe you just remind them of somebody they are already jealous of. Who knows?

What Makes People Insecure On The Job?

People who have problems with self-esteem on the job also have the same issues in their private lives. When it comes to work, some people make the mistake of looking at the workplace as another family environment. They may have grown up in disfunction and bring that childhood baggage to the workplace. They may consider the boss a pseudo-father or mother figure and their coworkers as siblings that are trying to steal the limelight away from them. This puts  them in competition mode and can make them the worst of people to work around.

They do not believe that other people can have talents and gifts without making them seem like lesser people  in comparison. Insecurity is a deep fear of not measuring up and and an even deeper lack of self-acceptance and love.

The Insecure CoworkerHow Insecure People Can Make Life Miserable At Work

Just like the jealous coworker, the insecure coworker is no picnic to be around. It is almost impossible to have a healthy relationship with someone who sees you as a threat. Picture a skunk with its tail ready to aim and fire at you.  Because the insecure coworker constantly focuses on loss, these folks are really deeply fearful human beings. They look at jobs, friends, opportunities and privledges in this world as being available in very limited quanities. They are afraid that other people are going to take something away from them. It's pittiful really.

Several decades ago, I was a new employee at a bank. I was promoted fairly quickly not due to any great talent, but to the fact that I showed up everyday and was dependable. The coworker who had been there for the previous 10 years began showing signs of extreme insecurity about this promotion by saying these words as she walked through the door in the mornings, " Here comes your worst enemy". It was her deep-seated fear of losing her place of importance that caused her to become so hostile. I ended up leaving. Many times that is the best thing to do.

Protect Yourself From The Insecure Coworker

It can be hard to have sympathy for these coworkers because they are truly out to keep you down and to keep you from success.   Your success takes something away from them, not gives something to you. That is how they look at life and others.

They do not share and rejoice in the happiness and success of others at work. Be on guard with the insecure. Some spread vicious rumors so never tell them anything personal. Stick to the rules and policies of your company to avoid giving them any ammunition to use against you. It's best to avoid them altogether if possible.

They need help in the form of counseling. Unfortunately, most places of employment don't give a hoot about these kinds of issues. What should you do if you can't get away from them? Some people suggest trying to befriend them and make yourself look more "safe". I say be careful anyway. Until these people get the help they need, any success at work on your part will only trigger their insecurities. Even something as simple as getting compliments from other coworkers about a new perfume can put a pout on the face of the insecure person. Sad, isn't it?

It is not an employee's concern to build up the damaged self-esteem of another employee. We certainly can't get into their brains and change deep-seated beliefs. Unfortunately, until they seek counseling, the insecure coworker should never be trusted at work. How about you? Have you ever had to put up with an insecure coworker?

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1 comment

user avatar
Written by eddiemars, 3 years ago
So true. I find that most people just need to be affirmed. They want to know that someone loves them.

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