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17 Signs Of Insecure Coworkers And Ways To Deal With Them

Signs Of Insecure Coworkers


Do you know how to spots signs of insecure coworkers? The least thing anyone would want to experience is to deal with insecure coworkers in their workplace. Your workplace environment can become very unpleasant because of an insecure teammate. Under normal circumstances, work can be stressful if there is too much to do and not adequate time in the day.

When every team member has faith in their potential to achieve at their highest level, organizations operate at their best. A team’s capacity to overcome obstacles and fulfill deadlines may be negatively impacted by the insecurity of its members, which can take many different forms.

But how do you identify an insecure coworker and deal with them once you do? Continue reading for 17 signs of insecure coworkers and solutions.

Identifying Signs Of Insecure Coworkers

You might be able to see problems and find solutions if you are aware of the numerous signs of insecure coworkers in advance of them hurting a team’s performance. Colleagues’ work and especially their interpersonal interactions with the other members of the team may show when they are unsure of their talents. The team supervisor and other administrative staff may need to mediate if this degenerates into a quarrel at work. A person’s attitude, tone of voice, and other behaviors can sometimes be indicators of insecurity.

Signs Of Insecure Workers

  • Sucking Up To The Boss

If you notice a coworker sucking up to their supervisor, you may be quite certain you’ve identified one of the indicators of insecure coworkers.

You naturally want to get along with your boss. It’s ideal to work in a setting where you feel free to express gratitude and compliment your supervisor when it’s due. But there is a significant distinction between that and actively sucking up.

This is what the insecure employee will do to try to win the boss over. They believe that if the employer likes them and is their buddy, they won’t notice any issues.

  • They Always Seek Affirmation Before Making Decisions.

Many of the most blatant indications of insecurity are those who constantly seek validation from others.

This is particularly true for coworkers who frequently seek the advice of their peers because they lack the independence to make decisions on their own. They act in this manner because they lack confidence in their own decisions and because they want others to take the fall if anything goes wrong.

It’s acceptable to assist a coworker, but it’s not okay to put yourself in danger by accepting the blame.

  • They Have A Negative Response To Success Or Acknowledgment.

Celebrating accomplishments at work might inspire your group to keep up their high standards of performance. This could entail congratulating a particular team member for producing success or recognizing the entire team’s dedication. Because they may have desired individual attention themselves, insecure coworkers could express themselves by disparaging others and downplaying their successes. Coworkers with low self-esteem may also turn down praise for their work without bringing up a personal matter. After acknowledging their hard work, employees who don’t feel glad for their coworkers run the risk of escalating tension.

  • High Drama

Love of high drama is one of the telltale characteristics of insecure employees. Even when nothing is happening, they enjoy making a scene out of seemingly insignificant details.

They genuinely take pleasure in inciting conflict or causing a commotion. This is a distraction tactic used to draw attention away from them and their alleged flaws. Sadly, it doesn’t make for a pleasant work environment when you’re never sure just what would set them off.

  • Gossip And Backbiting

There isn’t anything an insecure person enjoys more than a good amount of gossip, besides drama. They enjoy gossiping behind others’ backs, especially about anyone they believe might be superior to them in some way.

If allowed to continue, this is poisonous mean girl behavior. It’s the kind of conduct where one moment they’re speaking to you and spreading rumors about someone else, and the next they’re not. And you can be sure that their new “bestie” will bring up the subject of conversation with you. It’s childish and irresponsible, and it’s bad for a team.

  • They Treat Someone Differently

It may be a symptom of insecurity for a certain coworker to treat someone differently from other people, possibly even from you, and to try to demoralize someone else. Although workplace conflict can take many different forms, it often shows up as tension between coworkers. This tension can disrupt team tasks and hinder either party’s ability to operate at their best. The section or the organization as a whole can lose a few of the team’s best players as a result. The key to retaining top talent at the company may lie in resolving this disagreement and fostering a positive environment.

  • They Consistently Appear Quite Stressed.

It’s not unusual for people to appear stressed out at work; nonetheless, this is a clear indication that they might be insecure. Because they frequently question their talents and self-worth, insecure coworkers frequently experience significant levels of stress.

This might result in individuals taking on an excessive amount of work, and being reluctant to ask for help or delegate duties, all of which raise their stress levels. Ask a coworker whether they need help if you notice them acting stressed all the time; they just may open up and say they do.

  • Making Unattainable Promises

People who lack confidence are afraid to fail. They both fear coming off as frightened or insecure. Instead, they make lofty commitments that they are unable to fulfill. If they deliver anything at all, they overpromise and underdeliver.

Then you have to deal with justifications for why the work isn’t finished. When tasks are not done or projects are delayed, this not only creates a bad working environment but also puts your team in an unpleasant situation.

  • Offloading Tasks To Others

An insecure person is convinced they are unqualified for the position. Any justification will be used to divert all or a portion of their job to other members of the team. Since they didn’t do it, they cannot be held responsible if something goes wrong.

  • They Steal Credit And Avoid Blame

Insecure coworkers frequently go to great lengths to gain credit, even for work in which they had a minor role, and may do whatever to place the blame for errors on others. To ensure that they have a solid track record at the company and exhibit a fear of failure, this selective responsibility is used. This is understandable in isolation, but it becomes problematic when a coworker aggressively assigns blame for their failings. To demonstrate the strength of their abilities, they may also attempt to take over control of tasks or rule meetings.

  • The Simplest Questions Aren’t Answered Directly By Them.

Especially if the issue pertains to something they feel insecure about, insecure persons frequently struggle to give honest responses. This can be annoying when you’re merely trying to convince a coworker to give you some basic information, but it’s a common symptom of insecurity.

Asking them about their job, their viewpoint on anything or anything else that can make them feel pressed for time are all possible questions that could trip them up and cause them to provide evasive responses.

  • They Frequently Fail To Deliver

To avoid seeming incompetent, an insecure coworker would exaggerate their skills, thus setting them themselves up for failure. This may not imply that they are inadequate for the position; rather, it may indicate that they have given themselves more responsibility than they can manage. Although it normally stems from pure motivation, the team may suffer if this member prevents them from reaching the desired outcome. They may not follow through on their commitments out of fear of failing, yet this frequently results in disappointing their coworkers and pushing deadlines back.

  • Bragging

It might appear that something is acting oppositely. Although it doesn’t seem like someone insecure would brag, they do. Insecure people tend to boast excessively to establish their superiority over others, at the very least. Not only are they attempting to persuade you, but they are also attempting to persuade themselves.

Again, to draw attention away from what they perceive to be their shortcomings, they are being demanded and boastful.

  • Feeling Entitled

Insecure people may strangely feel entitled to possessions they haven’t worked for. They can believe they deserve a raise in salary or promotion even if they haven’t done anything to earn it. In the team, entitled behavior can make people’s blood boil since it is emotionally immature.

  • They Attempt To Undermine Your Confidence In Your Performance.

Insecure persons frequently try to undermine others to boost their self-confidence. One method they accomplish this is by criticizing your performance, either out loud or in private. Although they may be framed as “constructive criticism,” these remarks are mostly just the speaker projecting their fears onto others. It’s something you should disregard, keep apart from, and if you can stop.

  • Fake Positivity

Some insecure people decide to always seem upbeat. No matter what occurs, they always maintain an artificial smile and a condescending demeanor. No one can be fooled by it because it is so false, but it also doesn’t benefit the team. Sometimes things do go wrong, and a toxically upbeat attitude can grate when clear, practical thinking is required.

  • There’s Always An Excuse

Insecure coworkers are experts at making an explanation when they haven’t completed the task. It’s never their fault or responsibility, no matter what. They will never acknowledge having a problem or not knowing exactly what they were doing.

Unfortunately, you can’t rely on them to show up when they say they will or to do the tasks they are assigned.

Ways To Deal With Insecure Coworkers

You are now able to recognize the signs of insecure coworkers. If you have a team member like that, you can take the following action:

  • Time Spent With Them Should Be Limited.

Limiting your interaction with a coworker who is bringing you down to make you feel lousy is a good idea. You don’t want that kind of attitude because we spend so much time at work.

  • Give Praise Where It’s Due

Insecure people are continuously concerned with being discovered as having inadequate skills for their jobs. Give them sincere praise if they perform well. As long as it’s sincere and not overdone, make it a habit, and you may find that you relieve their insecurity.

  • Give Directions That Are Simple To Understand.

Be as precise as you can while giving instructions to someone insecure. Tell them you’re willing to be there for them and advise them to ask for assistance if they need it. People who are insecure worry about requesting help because they believe it would reveal their lack of expertise. They may benefit greatly from the assurance that asking for assistance is acceptable. Additionally, you might notice that kids start to play better team sports.

  • Speak To Them Privately.

Avoid confronting someone in front of others if there is a serious issue. An insecure person may retaliate against you by highlighting your perceived shortcomings and defects. Even worse, they can attempt to validate themselves by including others in the conversation. Instead, have a private conversation with them, possibly over coffee. Inquire whether they require training or if there is anything about which they are unsure. Make an effort to earn their trust and confidence. You might be able to comfort them and persuade them.

  • Inform Your Manager Or Human Resource Management.

Talk to your manager or HR if their behavior becomes too much for you to handle. Your manager might be aware of the circumstance and address it privately. However, it doesn’t harm to help ensure they are aware of the impact their actions are having on the entire team.


You may ensure that work is done at the appropriate pace and standard by being aware of the signs of insecure coworkers and dealing with any problems they might cause.

Let’s be clear about this: having insecure coworkers may turn your working life into a nightmare. They may not even be aware that they are doing it, but by making your job more challenging, their actions can seriously harm your well-being and mental health. The actual problem is that, deep down, there isn’t much you can do to assist them to deal with their insecurities. You can assist them with issues about their jobs and make progress on some of the more challenging issues.

I believe that embracing our insecurities is perfectly acceptable. However, the issue emerges when we start taking ourselves and all we know too seriously in an attempt to combat this insecurity by fostering the illusion of control.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Do You Know If You Are Respected At Work?

  • You seem to be the center of attention at work, which is one indication that you are well-liked there. Particularly pay attention to how your manager talks about you to other people. Positive feedback from individuals under your direction is frequently a sign that you are well-liked.

How Can You Tell Whether A Workplace Colleague Dislikes You?

  • They behave defensively (folding their arms or glazing over you when you talk). They don’t avoid eye contact, smile when you’re there, or turn away when they see you pass. In meetings, they don’t acknowledge your existence, and they hardly ever ask you about your job.

You can also read, “How To Tell A Coworker To Back Off”

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