14 Signs A Coworker Is Competing With You (And, How To Deal With Them)

Last updated on January 19th, 2023 at 07:55 am

A healthy competition promotes doing ‘their best’ in a team. In an unhealthy competition, teammates try to look ‘better than the rest’. 

When rivalry arises among team members, you notice a change in behavior toward you (usually after a promotion).

Be aware of these signs that a coworker is competing with you.

Whether you want it or not, feel it or not, someone wants to outperform you at work. 

In this post, first, we’ll explain how to spot them, and then we’ll consider some tips to deal with a competitive colleague wisely. 


How Do You Recognize Such Competitive Coworkers?

For competitive coworkers, their fellow peers are not team players but a competitor. 

Instead of focusing on the team and overall company performance, such colleagues become competitive within their teams. 

They are the reasons who make the workplace chaotic, fueling unhealthy competition. 

When you sense they’re trying to bring you down, you better consider these extra signs of competitive coworkers. 

So you can save your time and continue to work with passion. 

Sometimes, you can easily spot them, but sometimes you don’t. But, being aware of them is a must.


14 Signs A Coworker Is Competing With You

Whether your coworkers are trying to outrank you or want to prove they’re better than you, you will see such kinds of competitive approaches from them. 

1. A coworker who stays focused on your work, not on theirs.

Lately, that one colleague keeps monitoring you and enquiring about your work. 

You feel that they’re trying to get some information from you. 

When your coworker becomes competitive, they put more effort into checking your performance than they do on their own.

The idea is to find some mistakes in your work or your secrets. So, they can outwork you. 

2. A coworker who always tries to prove she’s working more than you.

And, because your competitive coworker watches over you, they know how long you work. 

You’re focused to give your ‘quality’ performance, while this coworker tries to compete against you. 

They not only do what you do but ensure that they do even more.

At least, enough to make your boss notice who works extra hours. 

You’re unaware of the competitive nature of your coworkers. But, it’s happening. 

3. A coworker’s behavior is getting strange towards you.

You don’t get any positive gestures from this coworker. They always treat you differently.

Maybe they see you as a threat to their job role.

Their behavior around you shows as if you’re a direct competitor to them. Not as a fellow teammate.

The way they look at you, not greeting you but everyone else and never directly approaching you could be signs that a coworker is competing with you.

4. A coworker who has stopped supporting you.

After all, why will they help you? Especially, when they see you as a competition. 

You might be junior to such a coworker and they are supposed to guide you.

But, as your performance or popularity increases, this coworker feels threatened by you.

Result? They avoid sharing any important info with you and leave everything to you.

Hoping you’ll fail so they can pick up your mistakes. 

A jealous and competitive coworker feels hurt when their junior is doing better than them. 

5. A coworker who always challenges you to do more than them.

Even if they’re not your boss or superior, they act like the one to you. 

Maybe their insecurity leads them to behave too competitively at work. Results, they always come to your desk with some challenge for you. 

By doing all these, they want to remain the best while proving you’re still incompetent at a job.

They see you as the competitor for the next appraisal.

So, they come to break your confidence. 

6. A coworker is plotting against you behind your back.

Seeing you’re getting the advantage and recognition they used to get. It hurts them deeply. 

Knowing you’ve outranked them, now this employee has become too aggressive to get his position back. 

For that, they might manipulate your boss, HR, and everyone in the company against you. 

They’re the one who is trying to set you up to fail at work, by highlighting or fabricating mistakes.

The level of secret hatred for fellow teammates is showing the signs of a competitive coworker who has nothing good to offer at work. 

Check other: Signs Your Boss Doesn’t Respect You (What You Can Do)

7. Obviously, this coworker spreads rumors about you.

They know you’re simply better than them, in most areas. 

While directly competing with you, they don’t feel like a good option.

So, being drawn by jealousy, hatred, and insecurity, such a competitive coworker starts to talk behind your back. 

And, they do this not just among teammates, but also with your manager and management. 

8. A coworker always promotes your failures.

During the meetings, their approach to you is negative and critical. 

Their attempt is clear to prove that you are not a better team player than them. 

Whether your mistakes are normal or not, they want to show it as if you’ve done a big loss to the business and overreact to it. 

Instead of supporting you as a team member, they make fun of your ideas and criticize them relentlessly.

Nor, do they seem pleased with your promotion. 

Such adverse behavior are proven signs that a coworker is competing with you.

9. A coworker who never stops passing comments at you.

The time when you’re doing better and reaching near to their level. They see you as a competition.

Further, such colleagues never stop at finding mistakes but also start commenting on your looks, performance, and personality.

They keep reminding you of the time when they helped you.

They keep trying to provoke you, to do something wrong at work that could damage your impression. 

10. A coworker who isn’t happy with your success at the job.

Earlier, you two may have been the best ‘work’ friends. And, the support was mutual. 

Then, a promotion comes and you gain something they don’t, causing them to be jealous of you.

Instead of congratulating you, they step away from you. 

He might even argue that you’re still not as good as him because he’s more experienced.

Which are nothing but secret signs of a competitive coworker who has been hiding such nature for a long. 

Check other: Signs Of Bad First Impression At New Job

11. A coworker who always attempts to waste your time on the job.

Here, not talking about the gossip queen or king at work, they waste everyone’s time. 

Instead, we’re talking about the one who only comes to you intending to divert your mood and involve you in something unproductive.  

Whether they take you on a break too often or ask for help even if they can do it on their own, it’s all just unnecessary interruptions

What’s the reason? Well, this is a sign that this coworker sees you as a competition and plans to beat you.

12. A coworker who never lets you feel like a team member.

Teammates are each other’s support system and reason to be comfortable. 

When you have a competitive coworker, who sees you as a rival, they never welcome you or appreciate you ever.

Because maybe they secretly blame you for being replaced at work.

By the time you realize that this coworker is entirely self-centered.

It’s not that this coworker is competing with you only, but also with everyone else on the team. 

13. A coworker who steals your ideas to stay ahead of you.

Taking credit for the work you do, is common to a competitive coworker or boss. 

When you’ve shared the ideas with such colleagues, they tell you it’s not good enough or not going to work out.

Later on, you find them working on the same idea you suggested.

It’s the situation when your coworker has taken advantage of your work.  

14. A coworker who tries to manipulate you to leave this job.

Perhaps it is their complaining habit, but it could also be their way to destroy the competition, you.

The coworker who always talks negatively about your role or this company, while doing the same work or still not leaving… are looking at you as a competitor. 

From manipulating you to believe that you’re wasting your time in this company to this job is not the right fit for you, a competitive coworker hopes you will quit this job. 

Such behavior is a sign of a competitive coworker’s behavior, which you better be aware of.


How To With Competitive Coworkers At the Workplace?

An overly competitive coworker is enough to damage the team environment and create unnecessary competition within the team. 

And, they’re so active in spreading the competition that they forget about their work as well. 

The first few conversations with them are enough to know what they are up to. 

Fortunately for you, now you have the above signs of a competitive coworker to spot the one in your team. 

Still, simply knowing them is not enough.

You better know how to deal with a competitive coworker following the professional approach.

You do so to keep a calm and collected nature at work. 

Here is what to do when a coworker sees you as the competition, but not you: 

  • Be kind. Show them support as a team members. 
  • Acknowledge them for the great work they do.
  • If they’ve helped you before. Don’t forget to give them credit.  
  • Let them know you’re not there to take their job.
  • Encourage them to feel part of the team and help them, too.
  • Play your part as a team. Pay attention to quality work.
  • When they don’t show any support, ignore them. 
  • Have everything documented to present when required in the future.
  • Stay working as you do. Give your best without having to care about them.

Doing so, you keep yourself out of unnecessary competition at work. 

When you recognize the signs that a coworker is competing with you, you certainly don’t want to be part of it. 

Because that’s not your motive here. 

Rather than replying to them anything, better stay focused on your work if possible. 

Check other: Signs A Coworker Is Flirting With You


Healthy competition in the team is required. But, any attempt to outrank each other, proving who is worth more, even being in the same team, leads to unhealthy competition at work. 

That not only damage the team environment but also affects the overall performance of the company.