Five Ways to Collaborate with People You Don’t Like

By Harvard Business Review
January 30, 2019

Have you and an associate gotten off on the wrong foot? Is the relationship impeding your ability to succeed? Remember, a leader must take the lead in working effectively with others.

What to do when you and a colleague don't get along? It’s possible to collaborate effectively with people you don’t like, but you must take the lead.

While these strategies might not be easy or comfortable, they're effective:

Reflect on the cause of tension and how you are responding to it. You won’t get along with everyone, but your reaction may be at the core of the problem.

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Work harder to understand the other person’s perspective. Ask yourself: Why is this person acting this way? What might be motivating him? What might he want and need from me? His goals and motivations may be as valid as your own.

RELATED: How to Prepare for a Difficult Conversation

Become a problem-solver rather than a critic or competitor. Instead of trying to work through or around the other person, engage him directly. Say, “I don’t feel like we’re working together as effectively as we could. What do you think? Do you have any ideas for how we can work better together?”

RELATED: How to Give Feedback to People Who Cry, Yell or Get Defensive

Be aware of your interpersonal style. Everyone has different styles — introverts and extroverts, analysts and explorers. Identifying such differences is useful.

Ask for help. Asking for help can reboot a difficult relationship because it shows you value the other person’s intelligence and experience. You might say, “You’ve worked here longer than I have. I’d love your help. What should I be doing more or less of? What do you wish someone had told you when you started working here?”

Copyright 2019 Harvard Business School Publishing Corp. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate.


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