Emotional intelligence: How to work with people you don’t like

Emotional intelligence: How to work with people you don’t like

9 tips to flip your perspective and improve the relationship

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9 tips for working in peace

Consider these tactics for working with colleagues you don’t like:

1. Respect that their worldview was built from experience

It is no less valid than yours. Don’t make fun of or disrespect their worldview, and they will be less likely to disrespect yours. But if they do, see Tip 5. 

2. Mind your ego

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that if only they would respect you more, things would be different.  Be the better person and go first. Don’t let your ego get in the way.

3. Filter out non-work discussion

Recognize that at work, your views (or theirs) are likely not a necessary part of the daily discourse. Focus on the work.

4. See every interaction as a new event

Try to see things through an objective lens and focus on what is relevant to the situation.

5.  Ignore more

If someone says something that you find offensive or distasteful, do your best to simply ignore it. Remember apatheia: What goes on out there does not need to affect what goes on in here.

6. Keep the big picture in mind

Your goals at work should be positively focused. Think of relationships that bring you joy, completion of the task, and maybe even advancement. Does an interpersonal difference with someone you don’t like really matter?

[ Read also: 9 counterintuitive tips for dealing with people. ]

If you are in a leadership position, here are a few additional tips:

7. Wherever possible, be flexible about how the work gets done

As long as work gets done to required standards and timelines, give as much space as possible for people to work in their own way.

8. Treat everyone on your team with a similar level of care

Close friendships between a leader and a specific team member can breed discontent among other team members.

9. Don’t push your own personal perspectives on non-work topics onto the team.

As a leader, your opinions are magnified by the team: Differences between your views and those of team members can be a source of division. This can even lead to fracturing the team along the lines of these perspectives or viewpoints.

If one of your goals is to move up in your organization, you’ll have the opportunity to work with more people who are likely to have different ideas, worldviews, and ways of working. The ability to collaborate with a broad and diverse range of people is a hallmark of effective leadership, and fortunately, it is easy to cultivate with practice.

[ Read our related article: 8 powerful phrases of emotionally intelligent leaders. ]


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