Time for a little story (I haven’t done one of these for quite a while).
Colin is a Team Leader in a company. He has a very authoritarian style of management, focused more on managing activities than the staff employed to do them.
He also has a reputation for ‘bagging’ his staff members to each other and is not shy of dobbing-in anyone to the executive management of the company. He really seems to enjoy watching people fail.
Colin recently told the owner of the company that he works for, how poorly a staff member was performing and that he knew that he could do the job way better himself.
There is of course the point that Colin is not employed to do that job so his claim is rather ridiculous anyway. But the fact is that there are probably millions of people all around the world that could do certain aspects of that person’s job better than they can and therefore, Colin’s claim doesn’t mean that the other person is poor at their job and is truly meaningless. In fact, there are millions of people all around the world that could do aspects of Colin’s job way better than him too.
Its a simple fact, few of us are ever as good at things as we think we are. (We are usually also not as bad at things as we tell ourselves either). Most of us really are just very average at everything we do. If we are exceptional at one thing, it is usually the only thing that we are good at. If Colin is as good at the one part of the job that he claims he is, he is most likely less than average at everything else, including much of his own job.
What is truly behind what Colin is doing?
I really struggle with the idea that anyone would wish for another person to fail. I struggle even more when this is within a team environment. The goal of any team should be to be successful as a team, so it makes no sense that any member of that team would want a fellow team member to fail. Everyone in a team should want everyone else to succeed.
What is even more remarkable is when a Team Leader wants someone in their team to fail.
I guess if a Team Leader sees someone bringing the team down, or holding it back, they may want them to fail so that they can justify getting rid of them, but even then surely the first approach is to try to help that person to succeed. Especially considering the negative impact ‘constructively dismissing’ a team member can have on the rest of the team.
The only real explanation for this kind of behaviour is envy.
Clearly Colin is feeling insecure about himself and his ability to do his job. He is concerned that the executive management may realise that he is struggling. He needs to make his light shine brighter in the eyes of the management and is therefore blaming his team for his failure as its leader.
Colin feels trapped and wants out of the situation that he is in. He is envious of the other staff member’s position. Colin is envious of anyone who may be enjoying their job when he is unable to. Perhaps the fact that other people get more praise than he does, or praise that he deserves, or that they don’t have to endure the same pressures as he does. Its not unusual when someone struggles with their role that they become nostalgic for a role that they left in order to become the team leader and in fact this is the case with Colin. The other staff member is doing a job that Colin used to do.
Envy can rear its ugly head in surprising places but serves only to make us feel more miserable about ourselves.
It is a sure sign that not everything is as it should be in your life.
It is easy to become envious of other people’s happiness when you are struggling with your own.
Envy is no one else’s fault and depriving others of happiness is not going to improve yours.
Take a good hard look at what you can do to achieve your goal to be happy and fall in love with the process of getting there.