How to work with someone you hate

You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your co-workers. Inevitably, you are not going to get along with everyone you have to work with, but regardless of how much you dislike someone, you have to learn to work together to get a task completed. In order to work with someone you hate, you have to learn to look for the good qualities in the person. Sometimes you have to have a “truce” with the hated co-worker. In a professional environment, you cannot let your emotions control you.

Remember, what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. Working with someone that you dislike can be a learning experience if you allow it to be. You have to keep an open mind, and you have to rely on an optimistic, glass half full” attitude. You have to force yourself to see the good in the person you are working with, regardless of the blaringly bad qualities that you have come to dislike so much.

If you feel that this person has a scattered, all over the place thought process, you might use that bad quality to your advantage. Many people who are seen as scattered are actually very creative, exploding with creativity in fact. Therefore, this is a person who may be able to generate lots of ideas rapidly. Be ready to do some note-taking so that you can record the ideas that your partner spews out, and then after the brainstorming session, you can sift through the ideas to find the ones that you like as well.

If you are working with a control freak, you can make them feel in control without actually surrendering your control. Let them come up with the initial idea for the task at hand, and then quickly interject your insights about that idea, making sure to commend your co-worker on his or her inventiveness. Control freaks like to have their egos massaged as often as possible, so by complimenting the idea, you will be able to run with it together. Basically, if you are willing to look for the silver lining, you should get the gold.

If the tension between you and the hated co-worker is tense to the point that you really feel that you are not going to be able to make any progress together on a task, then you have a responsibility to have a serious, honest talk with your fellow employee. You cannot allow this dissension in the ranks to cast a bad light on you as a professional. Take the high road, and call a truce.

Even if the thought of it turns your stomach, take some Tums, and man up. This will be a character-building experience for you, and it will be an opportunity to let bygones be bygones. After all, a relationship with a co-worker is not personal; it is professional. Find a private place to have a calm discussion with your co-worker about re-building your employee relationship. Unless this person is a total maniac, he or she will surely bite at the opportunity to put the past in its place.

Logically, there is only so much you can take. If you dislike your co-worker for extreme reasons, then it is time to get upper management involved. Sexual harassment, for example, is not something that you should learn to work with; it is blatantly inappropriate behavior that you are not expected to put up with in any way, shape, or form.

Violence or violent verbal abuse is also completely out of line. You should try to be flexible, but don’t compromise your integrity if you know that your co-worker is taking the inappropriate behavior way too far.

Violence

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