Q: Last year I got an award for recording the highest sales, and received a good bonus with my December salary. However, some colleagues in my department have been saying that I was only rewarded because of my close relationship with the MD, which is far from the truth. I do not even report to him. I find this annoying and demoralising. What should I do?
Congratulations on your achievement. No doubt, some of your colleagues must have celebrated your success with you. On the other hand, such recognition could stir up envy and speculation concerning the basis of your achievement, which appears to be the case with some of your colleagues. It is unlikely that all your colleagues will meet your significant career successes with utmost celebration and gladness.
Assuming that the prize you received is awarded annually, how has the success of past winners been received by colleagues in recent years? Did unwarranted speculation follow their fetes? Have you come very close to being the best salesperson in the past few years? If so, did the offending colleagues behave similarly? What did you do differently last year to win? Are they suggesting that your MD helped you sell more product? Did he refer some clients to you?
What do you think informed the speculations? Do you enjoy a positive rapport with him? There is nothing wrong with this and it is different from what your colleagues have implied. While it is not possible to quell malicious gossip completely, it is advisable not to put yourself in situations that could easily be misinterpreted by others to your disadvantage. Beware of the perception that your career stakeholders have of you.
Often, we do not struggle to revel in the celebrations associated with success. However, it can be a challenge to deal with some of the negative collateral effects of winning. Recognising that some reactions to your success may be a source of emotional discomfort will better enable you to handle such situations. It is sometimes best not to dignify malicious remarks with responses, especially if you are not certain about the source of such information.
Direct your emotional energy into sustaining your positive performance, aware that, to quote Aeschylus, “it is in the character of very few men to honour without envy a friend who has prospered.”
Fred Gituku, Human Resources Practitioner ([email protected])