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You are here: Home > Distressed Faculty & Staff > Specific Problems > The Suspicious Employee

The Suspicious Employee

Suspicious employees habitually focus on something other than their psychological difficulties.  They may be tense, anxious, mistrustful, and often are loners with few friends.  They tend to interpret minor oversights as significant personal rejection and often overreact to insignificant occurrences. They see themselves as the focal point of everyone's behavior, and everything that happens has special meaning to them.  They are overly concerned with fairness and being treated equally.  Feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy underline most of their behavior.



  • Express compassion without offering intimate friendship. Remember, suspicious employees have trouble with closeness and warmth.
  • Be firm, steady, punctual and consistent.
  • Be specific and clear regarding the standards of behavior you expect.
  • Acknowledge her/his anxiety. You may want to say: "I understand how frustrated/confused/anxious you are".



  • Assure the employee that you are a friend, since you are not.  Agree instead that you are a work colleague, but even acquaintances can be concerned.
  • Flatter or participate in their games; you don't know the rules.
  • Be cute or humorous.
  • Challenge or agree with any mistaken or illogical beliefs.
  • Be ambiguous.
by sebenl99 — last modified Oct 24, 2012 10:40 AM