Working with someone you dislike

HumanergyChoice TeamworkWorking with someone you dislike




Working with someone you dislike

Bernard is a real pain. So says Beth, one of Bernard’s teammates. There’s been bad blood between these two for years, and Beth has no patience for dealing with Bernard, even when she has to partner with him on projects. As the new team leader, how do you advise Beth to work with Bernard more effectively?

  • Get to know the other person, at least a little. It’s possible there are things about this “unlikable”person that you actually appreciate. Actively seek the good in this person, and you will likely find it.
  • Calmly stand up for yourself. Don’t avoid the person when the issue is important.
  • No matter what, be respectful. Use your manners and be civil, even when the other person is not.
  • Take control of your own emotional state. If you find yourself feeling angry, for example, acknowledge it and allow that to fade.
  • Consider the possibility that you don’t like this person because you have some of the same traits. That’s right. Forgiving yourself for your shortcomings is tied to forgiving them.

Most of us have worked with someone we find difficult.  Recognize that sometimes oil and water have to be in proximity, even if they really don’t mix. Be the best you can be, choose your own behavior and stay focused on your goals. Don’t let the other person stop you from being the best you possible.

A great resource for working well with others, and even enjoying it along the way, is our new book, “What Great Teams Do Great: How Ordinary People Accomplish the Extraordinary.”

Have experience working with people you don’t like? Share it by commenting below or messaging us.

Photo by Hunter Johnson on Unsplash

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Comments (1)

  1. Love this! Many times over the years I have had to work with (and for) individuals that I simply didn’t like. However, I found that using my background from acting in theater productions came in handy. When I would have to interact with the disliked individuals I would have my “character” actually like/appreciate/value the person. This made it possible to work with people I would never choose as friends, and it made my day-to-day a little easier. As I’ve matured I made a commitment to forgive everyone, everything–and it’s a lot harder that it sounds. However, when I sit in the space of gratitude and forgiveness I find it much easier to work with difficult people. And then I remind myself of one of my favorite quotes from Bill Nye the Science Guy, “Everyone you meet knows something you don’t.” ~ Amen to that!

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