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Wednesday, 10 June 2015

How to work with people you don’t like

Written by Simon North

We all know that sinking feeling when we realise we’re going to be working closely with someone we just don’t get on with. We spend so much time at work that it can be a real downer to have to spend the majority of that time with someone we can’t actually stand to be around. Follow our tips for ideas on how you can make the best of the situation.

  • Understand Why
    A good starting point is to look at what’s behind your dislike. Sometimes not being able to put our finger on why we don’t like someone can be even more irritating to us than the person themselves. By exploring what’s behind your negative feelings towards someone you may be able to minimise your irritation. Ask yourself what it is about your colleague that puts you off the most. Perhaps they are very different or too similar to you? Are they really noisy or too quiet?

  • Find a Different Point of View
    Find someone who likes the person you don’t and ask what they like about them. The reasons you get back may be things that you haven’t even noticed before. Be open to exploring what it is about this other person that appeals to others and you may begin to see the object of your dislike in a whole new light.

  • Put Yourself in Their Shoes
    You have absolutely no idea what challenges someone else is facing in their life and how those struggles affect the way they are. By accepting that everyone else has fears, worries and problems just as you do, you can become a lot more accepting of different personalities and behaviours.

  • Welcome Creative Tension
    There is no reason on earth why we should like everyone we meet anyway. The creative tension that comes from having different personalities within the workplace can actually benefit the organisation as long as it stays constructive and doesn’t degenerate into an endless series of destructive, stressful conflicts.

  • Be Friendly
    It can be easy to take a dislike to someone because you think they don’t like you. Similarly, it can be easy to misread someone’s behaviour as being standoffish or abrupt when they’re just nervous around people they don’t know very well. Try getting to know the person a little better and understand what they like – at the very least it’s much nicer to work with someone you can be civil with and you may even find some common ground.

About the Author

Simon North is the Founder of Position Ignition and the Career Ignition Club. Position Ignition is one of the UK’s leading career development and career planning companies. The Career Ignition Club offers a range of career support tools, advice and e-learning materials for its members. Follow Simon North and his team on twitter @PosIgnition and get more advice from him on their Career Advice Blog.

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