A Leading Perspective

Pragmatic insights for the leader in you


I don’t look good in green



This is my daughter, Carolyn.  As you can see, she placed a beautiful header into the goal and was pretty happy about it!





(Who wouldn’t be?…other than the goalie, of course.)




I only have one tangible picture of her teammate congratulating her; you can see Carolyn was quickly embraced with a hug.

After this picture, the cameraman put down his camera to glance over and see if I had seen the shot.

Indeed, I saw the goal but what I saw afterwards inspired this post: genuine happiness for others.

Between the high fives, the bear hugs, the smiles, the cheers – I saw 18 teenage girls happy for another human.  It was impressive!


It made me wonder if I am genuinely happy for others’ successes. 

I realized I have room for improvement.  What about you?

My trouble with this began in childhood.  I understand for years, I was unhappy with my brothers and sisters on their birthday because it wasn’t MY birthday.  Apparently, I was a big sourpuss – and now am quite the family legend.  (I can’t have been the only one…I have seen plenty of toddlers get upset when others get presents or a special treat.)

Sadly, in my 18 years of being an HR professional, I have seen this behavior in adults.


We allow jealousy or envy to be a barrier for sharing in someone’s joy. This barrier creates dysfunction.  Teamwork suffers, selfishness increases, bad attitudes take hold, offenses are made, etc.  Before long, we’ve got performance, retention and recruitment problems.

Jealousy has no positive benefits!

  • It doesn’t benefit us.  Resentment is burdensome; it is heavy to carry around and make us feel like crap.
  • It doesn’t benefit the relationship.  Jealousy and envy hinder open communication, trust, accountability and kindness.
  • It doesn’t benefit the other person.  Withholding praise and joy for others steals from them basic validation and recognition as humans.


I don’t know what causes jealousy in others but I do know what causes it for myself.  That being said, I have outlined my plan for eliminating these causes so I can find a better “generosity of spirit” when it comes to the success of others.

I will commit to:

  • Analyzing the “why”
    I will try to figure out why I am envious.  Is it for praise, is it for money, is it for fun or relief, it for security or acceptance?
  • Liking myself
    Ok, I know this is cheesy but it’s an issue and I’m being honest about it.  I need to quit seeking validation from others and be comfortable with who I am and what I have to offer.  This should also help me from feeling threatened…another cause for jealousy.
  • Quit comparing
    I need to quit ranking myself against others.  My competitive spirit often goes beyond healthy.  The fact is, I can’t always win or be the best.  It’s not practical, reasonable or probable.
  • Shifting my focus
    I need to see what I can gain in the relationship by being happy for the person.  This should help outweigh the need to withhold affirmation from them.

That’s my plan.  I think it will be somewhat “easy” for my friends, my family and my colleagues because I care for them.   My challenge will be to tackle my envy of total strangers.

Are you green at times?  What’s your plan?

Employee RelationsEnvyHappinessJealousyLeadershipSuccessTeamwork

Heather Kinzie • March 2, 2012

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  1. Tracy Hazen March 2, 2012 - 3:44 pm Reply

    What a perfect topic for a Philosophic Friday. I’m in the mood to pontificate.
    It’s my opinion that we humans are compelled to quantify everything, that we believe there exists only a finite amount of love, success, beauty, talent, what have you, and that we need to be ever watchful to ensure get our share. If a co worker is a success, if Mom is proud of my brother, if my friend is beautiful then there is somehow less success, love and beauty left for me. This divisive mentality leads to a laundry list of problems in the workplace, Heather, as you mentioned, including skill hoarding, deliberate hiring of mediocre staff, a tense atmosphere of hypersensitivity and hyper vigilance, and even sabotage.
    Sure, sometimes we are divided into winners and losers: there’s one promotion, one Kentucky Derby winner, one final American Idol, but I’d say that the lion’s share of the time there’s more than enough of the good stuff to go around. An effective manager isn’t afraid to hire the best and the brightest and is thrilled when others are recognized. As Vidal Sassoon says, “If you don’t look good, we don’t look good.”

    • Heather Kinzie March 2, 2012 - 5:45 pm Reply

      Tracy, feel free to pontificate on my blog. I just may have you guest post from time to time! You are spot on with your observations and yes, more leaders/managers/supervisors should accept, if not embrace, the idea of “if you don’t look good, we don’t look good.”

  2. AJ Borowsky March 3, 2012 - 3:30 am Reply

    Heather, did you write this for me ;)? I totally identify with what you said and what you feel. It’s something a lot of people need to work on. Rather than look at other people’s success as diminishing my own, I should look at it as a challenge. I’m competitive too but that can be put to good use as long as I remember that it’s ok, indeed better for me and everyone else, if I’m genuinely happy for the other person first.

    You’re last sentence is so profound. Thanks for a great post.

    • Heather Kinzie March 15, 2012 - 8:59 pm Reply

      Hi AJ! Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding. Still figuring out this blogsite and didn’t realize I had a comment waiting! I’m glad you got something out of the post. Sometimes I sit and think, “what do I have to share” and just start typing. In this case, it paid off! Catch you later…in a different color!

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