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February 26, 2017

Dealing with People You Don’t Like

There will be times when you must work with people you don’t like and who may not like you in return. Despite your personal feelings, you need a way of building a productive working relationship with them. Here are some tips to help you work with people you don’t like.shutterstock_2927347

  • Accept the person as they are. Often, you don’t get along with someone because you have differing beliefs and values. This can be generational. For example, Baby Boomers believe that you should put in long hours and make your job the most important part of your life. Younger employees, like Millennials, believe that the job is just one aspect of their lives, not the most important one. You don’t have to agree with each other; just agree to disagree and get the job done. Check out my program Bridging the Generation Gap.
  • Always be polite and civil, no matter what you feel when you are with the person. There’s never a good reason to be rude. Even if someone has behaved rudely toward you, remain professional and positive. Focus on facts and observable data and set aside your emotional responses.
  • Know what pushes your buttons and gets under your skin and refuse to let it. This is easier than you might think. When you feel yourself getting angry or find a sharp retort on the tip of your tongue, just take a breath. Inhale and exhale once or twice, and release those negative responses. Starting a verbal battle won’t help and will only widen the divide between you. If necessary, excuse yourself and walk away for a time out.

If you find it increasingly difficult to work with someone, talk to a person you trust about what is going on. Explain how you think you are being treated as objectively as possible, focusing on what you have observed and experienced rather than your emotional reaction. Sometimes just talking about the situation can provide a new perspective. See my blog post How to Handle Office Bullies for more information.

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