It is more the rule than the exception that you occasionally meet people in your work life that you don’t get along with (some do it more often than others). And of course it will continue to be, but the way you handle the conflicts makes a big difference to your own development.
First of all, it helps to remember that no one handles every situation perfectly, not even the most inspiring role models – no matter how successful they may be in your eyes and others’ eyes. But by stopping and reflecting on why you get irritated or upset – and how you can act in the best way in the moment – you will be able to change the way you handle the situations.
That said, you can’t always agree with everyone you work with, but if you limit yourself in who you choose to collaborate with, you’re really only limiting yourself. Instead of burying your head in the sand, try changing your perspective. Business Insider has shared a list of how successful people deal with people they don’t like, based on the author of A paperboy’s fable: The 11 principles of success, Deep Patel’s top tips. Here you will find 5 of the items on the list:
1. Accept that you won’t get along with everyone
The first step to interacting with colleagues or other people you don’t like at work is to accept that no one clicks with everyone, and that that’s okay. It doesn’t mean either you or the other person are bad people, writes Patel.
In a study published in Journal of Experimental Social Psychology the researchers looked at “regulatory fit”, which is explained as the fact that we are much more likely to put our heads down when it comes to things we like (which is not entirely surprising). When you don’t like working with a certain person, you won’t put in the effort to make it work either. Over time, this lack of effort can lead to contempt.
2. See the situation from different perspectives
Instead of instinctively reacting negatively to something your colleague says or does, try to understand what might have triggered them to do so. She may have difficulty expressing herself, could you have misinterpreted the situation? And even if it was an intentional insult, exploding and getting angry will only have negative consequences for yourself.
3. Pay attention to your emotions
The other person can only make you mad if you allow them to. Pay attention to your feelings and let them pass in the moment, treat the person opposite you with respect and be polite. If the topic that came up is something you need to clear up with your colleague, do so when you have collected yourself and can discuss without losing your cool. Be the “bigger person” who focuses on the facts and ignores how the other person is acting, no matter how ridiculous and irrational they are. Concentrate on the situation, not the person.
4. Pick your battles
As we have covered before, it can sometimes be easiest and best to just let things pass. Not everything is worth your time and attention. Ask yourself if you really want to get involved with the person or if your energy should instead be spent on continuing to work? Patel writes that the best way to figure out what to do is to consider whether the problem is situational. Will it go away with time or could it escalate and get worse? If it’s the latter, it’s best to sort it out as soon as you can.
5. You control your own happiness
About someone really annoys you, it can be incredibly difficult to see it from a bigger perspective, but you should never let someone else limit your happiness or success. Ask yourself why you get so triggered? Is there something that worries or bothers you at work that doesn’t even really have to do with this person? Try to find the source of the irritation. You are the only one who can control and control your own emotions, stop comparing yourself to others. Instead, remind yourself of what you are doing and have already achieved and don’t let anyone else have power over you just because they have darkened a part of your day.
Get outside, take a few deep breaths and take a walk around the block. Sometimes it can be enough to shift the focus and see things with clearer eyes. It’s not easy to interact with others, but by understanding the root of the irritation and the problem, you’re already well on your way to better communication and a more successful work life.