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Try these strategies if you don’t get on with a colleague

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In an ideal workplace, everyone would get along famously.

But the reality is that you can’t choose your colleagues - and inevitably there will be people you don’t gel with.

Someone on your team might just not be your kind of person, for whatever reason. Or there could be specific reasons for disliking them: perhaps you view them as over-competitive, needlessly critical or just too confrontational.

While interpersonal tensions are an unavoidable part of working life, they can be damaging. As we know from talking to the top performers looking for new technical professional roles via RHL, problems like this can sour an office environment, disrupt teams and cause a slump in morale and productivity (making up a toxic workplace).

So read on for other ways to try to find a path to resolution when there’s a colleague you not only don’t click with - but also actively avoid.

See past the behaviour

Rather than assuming the other person is at fault when personalities clash, it’s often wiser to take a step back and try to understand why you don’t get on - and if there’s anything you can do to repair the situation.

Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and try to figure out their point of view.

Consider why they’re acting like they are, and what their motivation could be. Their behaviour might be a reaction to a problem they’re experiencing away from the workplace, and actually have very little to do with you.

Aim for consistent calm 

You’re probably already professional enough to know that if you can stay calm when you’re interacting with someone you don’t like - and who you know can provoke you - you’ll have a huge advantage.

Work on developing a ‘professional poker face’ in your dealings with that person. You’ll get the upper hand if you can keep emotions out of interactions and stay consistently civil.

It also helps if you can focus on the situation that’s causing problems, and not the person in question.

Talk face to face

Requesting a one-to-one meeting with your problem colleague is an obvious step to take.

Ask them how they think things are going between you, and what they think could be the issue. Explain what you’re experiencing and how things are impacting on you. If you have different personality styles, include this in the discussion and see if they agree - and if they have any ideas how you could work better together.

There’s a chance they haven’t realised the impact that their attitude towards you has had on you.

Taking steps to resolve the situation

If you’ve tried to address an interpersonal problem but it’s actively affecting your work and risks impeding your success, it’s time to involve management.

As with everything, if problems are left unchecked they’ll just fester and get worse.

Or if you’ve been thinking of making your next move for a while, could this actually be the push you need to move onto greater things - and easier colleagues?

Get in touch

Looking for your next move? Talk to us and find out how we can help you find a role - and team - that’s right for you.

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