CAREER ADVANCEMENT / APR. 08, 2014
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How to Manage Someone You Don’t Like

Getting Along at Work

No matter where you find yourself professionally, odds are there will come a point in time when you are managing or working alongside someone you simply don’t like. After all, there are things even our spouses do that can annoy us. So it pretty much goes without saying some of those working under our authority are bound to irritate us—at least from time to time.

Still, this doesn’t mean that person is necessarily detrimental to the team. He or she can still be an extremely valuable employee, despite the fact you don’t like that person. In this light, learning how to effectively manage an employee you don’t like is something that can be exceptionally beneficial to your company. Additionally, learning such a skill can carry over to other, non-work-related aspects of your life.

Let’s take a look at five tips you can leverage to improve the working relationship you maintain with employees you might not think are the best people in the world:

1. Why Do You Dislike Them?

Try to figure out exactly what it is about your employee that bothers you. Is it a specific mannerism? Is it the way they complete tasks? Is it their personality? Remember, the only thing you can control is yourself and your actions—you can’t change someone else’s personality. What you can change, however, is how you respond to that personality. If something annoys you, just try your best to ignore it.

2. No One is 100% Bad

Even if a coworker annoys you like no other, he or she still contributes to the team—right? By focusing on the positives the employee brings to the table, perhaps you’ll learn the good qualities overshadow those quirks you seemingly can’t stand.

3. Learn More Before Passing Judgment

You could even try to get to know your employee better. According to the Harvard Business Review, immersing yourself in a difficult project can help employees grow closer together. So why not partner up with the employee to accomplish something challenging? Maybe you’ll uncover things about your employee you never knew before. And in the end, you’ll produce a strong project that will encourage you to work together more in the future.

4. Evaluate Yourself Before Others

Maybe the problem is not with your employee—maybe it’s with you. Assuming your other employees are getting along with this particular one, maybe it’s time to take a look at yourself and evaluate how you’re dealing with the employee you don’t like. Perhaps you’ll be able to change the way you’re behaving and the thoughts you have, and in doing so, alleviate the situation.

5. Speak Honestly and Openly

If the team member’s behavior is bringing down his or her coworkers, let that person know what he or she is doing is detrimental to the working environment. If the employee you don’t like is always complaining about having too much work, let him or her know that kind of behavior will no longer be tolerated. This way, you give the employee a chance to improve before showing him or her the door if they refuse to change.

Throughout life, there are all kinds of things we have to do that we don’t want to. Nobody wants to spring out of bed on a Monday morning when it’s raining and cold and head to work, but we do it because we have to. As you make your way up the corporate hierarchy and have employees under you, it’s important to realize you’re not always going to like all of them.

As a professional, though, it’s important to at least give the ones you don’t like a chance. Consider your own thoughts and actions and what you can do to make that employee’s life a little easier. If he or she is a valuable asset to the team, then you might have to put up with the quirks you don’t like for the greater good.

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