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How to Get Along with a Coworker You Hate

How to Get Along with a Coworker You Hate

By Cheryl Stein, Monster Canada Personal Coach

The reality of life is that sometimes we have to work with people we don't like. Worse than that, sometimes we end up working with people we absolutely hate and wish we could vaporize into oblivion. Although making people disappear is not a good (or viable!) option, these six ways can help you make the problem disappear.

1. Be Brutally Honest with Your Coworker

Confronting the person who is making you sick and telling him really nicely what he’s doing to make your workday awful can sometimes get him to stop. Much of the time, people are completely oblivious to how their behavior makes other people feel. Bringing their lousy behavior to their attention can be the wake-up call they need to change their ways.

2. Rise Above Bad Workplace Behavior

Is there any way to ignore or avoid the person who’s driving you crazy? Like your mother taught you when you were little, pretending that you aren’t affected by the way someone is behaving can get him to stop -- especially if he’s behaving in a way that is intentionally aimed at hurting you.

3. Reframe Your Perspective

A good coaching exercise is to focus on the good qualities this person possesses. This act of appreciation can get you to notice when she is being nice and help you ignore her when she’s being nasty. Try making a list of all the good things she does and intentionally notice those things during the day.

4. Use Honey

Try to connect with the person to develop a closer relationship. Sometimes getting to know someone a little better and extending a hand in friendship can make the person start to go out of his way for you.

5. Use the Opposite of Honey

Sometimes the only way to get someone to back off is to show her what she’s doing. You’ve probably been told before not to sink to anyone's level, but once in a while a bully needs a good kick in the shins. Be careful, however, because if you end up having to go to a higher authority to get this person to stop (see next step), you don't want her to have any ammunition against you. If you try this approach, explain why you did it. For example, “I shot down your idea in the meeting because that’s how you always speak to me. If you don't like how that feels, maybe you shouldn't do it to others."

6. Report as a Last Resort

You never want to be labeled the workplace tattletale, but some situations are just impossible to live with. If all else fails and you feel an intervention is needed to stop the behavior, tell your boss. If you go this route, make sure you speak in terms of how the behavior is impacting the organization. Reducing creative thinking, impacting productivity and damaging team morale are all reasons for a boss to get involved because it will impact his bottom line.

It isn't reasonable to expect to have only coworkers you like, but if you have to work with people you can't stand, at least you have options to make your days a little better.

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