Surprisingly one of the toughest parts of success is finding a colleague happy for you. But as they say, “Anyone can get pity. Jealousy you have to earn.”
Following the advice in my blog posts might cause you some trouble. When you persistently do off-the charts good work, the unintended consequence is that you make other people look bad. That can create a problem for you because frankly, people are often envious of your effort and success. It’s crazy, but you will be reviled by some for your exertion. They are afraid you’ll make them look inferior—their worst fear. I’ve asked many CEOs what was the biggest surprise they experienced once becoming CEO, and the majority told me some version of being taken aback by how many enemies they then had.
One told me that it is a double-edged sword to differentiate yourself:
When you get noticed, get rewarded, get recognition, coworkers, family, and friends can turn on you. Jealousy is a unique human instinct, and it can create a divide. Instead of lauding your accomplishments, they make snide remarks. I remember my coworkers griping, “You’re making us all look bad,” and then reacting by trying to make me look bad. It was a total surprise to me that that would happen.
People are jealous because you remind them of their weaknesses, which makes them feel fearful and insecure. When you are a nobody, doing nothing, no one cares. But if you start leading the pack, you’ll get the arrows in your rear. That’s just life.
The only thing you can do is to try in every way to highlight and spotlight the accomplishments of others. When they do well, praise and laud them. Do not hold back praise or retaliate against them in any way. Just continue to pour your heart into your craft. And in a private place on your body, you can tattoo in Sanskrit: “Success is the best revenge.”
Debra Benton has a new book from McGraw-Hill (June, 2017) titled, The Leadership Mind Switch: Rethinking How We Lead in the New World of Work.