If you work in a small company with a handful of people that you like, then you should consider yourself very fortunate. I think that the majority of employed people are far more likely to work in large companies where they may not necessarily like everyone that they work with. What about you? Do any of your coworkers get under your skin on a regular basis?
I most assuredly work for a large company and I do not like everyone that I work with. Fortunately for you, I have not liked a lot of people over the course of my career so I can share a few tips on how to handle these uncomfortable relationships. Before I get into the tips I want to reassure you that it is okay to not like every single person that you work with. It is a big diverse world out there. We are not all going to agree on everything nor are we all going to like each other. If you have a strong dislike for someone, then that is okay. If you are pretty sure that one of your coworkers has a strong dislike for you, then that is okay too. The key is to ensure that you can work professionally and effectively with everyone. Here are a few other tips that may help you deal with bad work relationships:
- Consider why: If you have built up a strong dislike for a fellow employee, then try to identify why you dislike them. Have they really earned your hatred or could you be the petty one in this relationship? This may not sound like groundbreaking advice, but trust me it is. When you actually attempt to articulate your reasons for disliking someone, they may sound petty and silly to even you. I can assure you that I have personally experienced this on several occasions. When I tried to write out the reasons that I disliked someone, I realized I was being childish and petty. It happens to the best of us.
- Don’t share your feelings with co-workers: If we truly dislike one of our coworkers then one of our first temptations is to tell our work friends. We need someone to share our frustrations with, right? There is no value is sharing your dislike. Even if they agree with you, it does not make you right nor does it solve anything. If you want to speak to someone about the frustrations you are feeling, try speaking to the person that you are having the issues with (see point #3).
- Seek Resolution: If you notice a pattern of bad interactions with a coworker then it may be time to confront the situation. Sit down with the person and let them know what they are doing that causes you frustration. Give them the opportunity to explain their reasons for being frustrated with you as well. I have had this type of meeting several times in the course of my career and they have never made the issues disappear completely, but the meetings have helped parties to be a little more cognizant of our actions and their impact. If you cannot resolve your issues, at least make sure that both of you understand that it is in your best interest to learn how to effectively work together. We certainly do not have to like each other, but we do need to be able to work together professionally.
That is my advice, but I want to hear from you. Have you ever had a coworker that you hated? If so, why and how did you resolve it?
Photo courtesy of istockphoto/Robert van den Eijk