How to Work with People You Can't Stand
By Cheryl Stein
Monster Personal Coach
The reality of life is that we sometimes have to work with people that we don’t like. Worse than that, sometimes we end up working with people that we absolutely hate and wish more than anything that we could vaporize them into oblivion. Although making people disappear is not a good coaching option, there are ways of dealing with the issue that can help the problem disappear.
Be Brutally Honest with Your Coworker
Confronting the person that is making you sick and telling them really nicely what they are doing to make your workday awful can sometimes get them to stop. A lot of the time, people are completely oblivious to how their behavior is making people feel. Bringing their lousy behavior to their attention can be a wake up call to get them to change.
Rise Above the Bad Workplace Behavior
Is there any way to ignore or avoid this person that is driving you crazy? Like your mother taught you when you were five, pretending that you are not affected by the way a person is behaving can get them to stop- especially if they are behaving in a way that is intentionally aimed at hurting you.
Reframe Your Perspective
A good coaching exercise is to try and focus on the good qualities that this person possesses. This act of appreciating them can get you to notice when they are being nice and help you ignore when they are being nasty. Try making a list of all the good things that they do and intentionally notice those things during the day.
Try to connect with the person to develop a closer relationship. Sometimes getting to know someone a little better and extending a hand of friendship can make them begin to go out of their way for you.
Use the opposite of Honey
Sometimes the only way to get someone to back off is to show them what they are doing. I know that you have probably been told not to sink down to anyone’s level but once in a while a bully needs a good kick in the shins. Be careful with this one because if you end up having to go to a higher authority to get this person to stop, you don’t want them to have any ammunition against you. If you take a shot, explain why you did it-"The reason why I shot down your idea in the meeting is because that is always how you speak to me. If you don’t like the way that it feels, maybe you shouldn’t do it to others."
Report as a Last Resort
You never want to be labeled a tattletale at your place of work but there are situations that are just impossible to live with. If all else fails and you feel that there is an intervention that needs to happen to stop the behavior, tell your boss. If you do need to take this route make sure that you speak in terms of how the behavior is impacting the organization. Reducing creative thinking, damaging team morale, or impacting creativity are all reasons for a boss to get involved because it will impact his bottom line.
It isn’t reasonable to expect to only have coworkers that you like but at least if you have to work with people you can’t stand, you have options to make your days a little better.