• Please read the thread in Forum News and Announcements pertaining to race related discussion on SF - thank you :)

I believe my coworker is threatened of me


Active Member
Hey I need some advice about work relationships and how to handle this situation.

So my coworker who was hired 5 months before me used to do this on going project when it first started. He has recently started a larger and more established on going project and does both projects very well.

I asked my manager if I could take over his older project to give me a chance to learn and gain some managerial experience. (Also this month I have been top employee in sales and have been carrying myself with more confidence)

When my coworker heard this he started behaving defensive and (in lack of better words) childishly trying to maintain control of the older project (a training wheels project so to speak). I suspect he is also bad mouthing me to my manager and jeopardizing my sales.

My question is, should I be assertive and tell him that I am not trying to undermined him I'm just trying to learn or should I just say nothing and let this continue?

HELPPPPPPPP!!!!!!! I am usually VERY passive aggressive and let this pill up but I am trying to stand up for myself lately. However, I lack the Emotional Intelligence to know the right place and time to act.

Any help is greatly appreciated. :)

Were all together

Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
Approach him and tell him what you stated. Let you stance be known. If he refuses, there's nothing you can do. But, you can go to your Supervisor and say you offered. Also, congratulations on your top sales. As long as you're a performer, I dont think any bad mouthing about you, will matter to your manager.


Of dust and shadows
SF Creative
SF Supporter
Hi @lilly123 , in many organisations where there are a number of employees, from what I've seen cases where people feel their position to be threatened can be a common occurence. In your case, it seems he's being defensive in an attempt "to mark his territory," and so causing him to behave in this childish manner.

As some of his actions could be having a detrimental effect on your work and possible standing with your manager, I would advise against letting this continue, instead of allowing things to fester.
I'd say it would be best to have a word with him over this, trying to allay his fears/concerns that you have no wish to undermine or usurp his position within his place of work. Try to explain to him that you are merely trying to gain some experience, not to compete with him or to put one over him.
It may be worthwhile involving your line manager in this, so at least your boss is fully cognizant of the situation and so hopefully will be able to act to assuage his fears.

Best wishes, and hope you'll be able to get this troubling situation swiftly resolved in an amicable manner.


Loves SF
Forum Owner
SF Author
I think (being a massive control freak myself) if someone wanted to take over a project I had been managing successfully for some time, I would feel tense and stressed about that. Not as anything negative about the person who wanted to take over it, just a personal emotional reaction. That said, if the person came to me and explained (as you explained above) I would feel much better about it. I don't think it is even a matter of being assertive necessarily as much as it is being aware that the other person might have feelings and anxieties attached to this project and talking about it might be all that is needed to reassure and smooth things over. I would have a conversation with your colleague - not in an 'assertive' way necessarily as much as "It seems as though my request to take over your smaller project has created some bad feeling and I just wanted to explain why I wanted to and that I was in no way trying to create a negative situation - please can we talk about this?" - I am trying to think what I might think if someone wanted to take my project and it would be between "they think I can't cope with both" and "they think I am not doing a good enough job" and "they don't fully understand what I was doing here and they might undo all my hard work" - as I say, I am a control freak so I can 'picture' why your colleague might be concerned and I think it could be quite easily smoothed over :)


Have a question? Message Me
Owner Emeritus
Tend to agree with Freya above. If anybody hears another employee is asking to take over one of the projects they have been managing it is going to cause them to feel like they are being stepped up if there is no explanation. Whether it is a talk to the manager to say please make clear that this is as training up for you, or talk to the person saying you want to learn how to do the things to increase knowledge and that you had mentioned that one because was so well managed to this point you thought could learn a lot without having too many issues to deal with right away there has to be some type of communication to the "why" you are asking or the manager is giving you the project. Lacking that communication there is bound to be bad feelings that can turn into a nasty situation that is easily avoided.

Even after communicating the why, it is still possible for people to have bad feelings, but then you have done what you can about it and more importantly any issues that do come up were already pre-discussed "Can you communicate to them why i am being assigned the project so they don't get upset and think i am moving in on their stuff" so if they do start bad mouthing you there is a ready explanation as to why and you tried to prevent the issues. Another good sign of manager material is anticipating potential conflicts and taking steps to prevent them=- so consider this talk with the manager or co-worker further building your managerial resume as well.
Whether it is a talk to the manager to say please make clear that this is as training up
Talking to the manager sounds like a good approach. Maybe something like "I think X has done a great job with both projects. I want X to know that I just want to manage the smaller project to get some experience, but I'm worried that he might feel threatened or resentful".


Active Member
Thank you all so much for responding, I took your guys advice and it went well. His attitude has changed for the most part but I can still see some doubts (but that's to be expected given our competitive environment)

I really appreciate the help and I hope you all have a marvelous day!


Of dust and shadows
SF Creative
SF Supporter
Glad to hear that it went well and his attitude has changed. Hopefully over time his remaining doubts wil dissipate, but I suppose there's no harm in having another word just to reassure him if need be.

Please Donate to Help Keep SF Running

Total amount