So what should you do when you hear that a colleague has done something exceptional and you’re not jumping up and down with joy? Here are three simple guidelines:
Accept the fact that we all have mixed feelings about other people’s success. Just because you experience a bit of disappointment or envy doesn’t make you a bad person. It just means that you’re human.
Take a hard look at whether any of your negative feelings are justified or should be addressed. If indeed the playing field is uneven, or some favoritism was involved, then think about whether you want to talk about it constructively with your manager or an HR representative. If, however, the other person succeeded fair and square, consider how you can use the other person’s achievement as motivation for yourself. What can I learn from what she did? What do I need to do differently to be recognized and rewarded in the future?
Take a deep breath and say “congratulations” to your colleague. Maybe we can’t all be winners all the time, but we can all be gracious and learn how to celebrate success together. Eventually, it might even be fun — and lead to a stronger team.