11 Effective Ways to Work With a Colleague You Don’t Like

Not everyone gets along well. What is the best way to work with someone you may not care for much? Why does this approach help?

Workplace conflicts

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

1. Try to Find Common Ground

You can’t change the other person, but you can change your mindset on how you view that person. Instead of focusing on the negatives or the reasons you don’t like them, try to find some common ground. You may find that maybe you’re both parents or that you’re following the same diet plan. Finding common ground will help you see them in a different light. And who knows, they may become your friend.

Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

2. Be Polite and Minimize Personal Interactions

First, understand that you don’t have to like everyone you work with. If there’s an individual or two with whom you just can’t seem to get along with, be polite and respectful, and then focus on the work at hand. Keep personal interactions to a minimum.

Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

3. Stay Focused on Your End Goals

When working in an environment where there are many personalities, or if you have to deal with others outside of your organization to get things done, there are bound to be times when people don’t get along. I always focus on the task at hand rather than the people involved. I know if I focus on the end goal, the results will speak for themselves, regardless of the obstacles that may occur.

Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.

4. Ask Them to Do You a Favor

Known as the Ben Franklin approach, asking an “enemy” for a favor can help smooth rough feelings. Specifically, asking a colleague to do us a favor signals that we think they have something that we don’t, such as more resources, skills or insight. Asking them for a favor is a way to show admiration and respect, which in turn raises their opinion of us because they appreciate our admiration.

Shu Saito, Godai Soaps

Using business communication tools

5. Communicate via Digital Channels

We’re living in a time when we have so many options for communication. If you’re dealing with someone whom you don’t think has good intentions, it’s important to communicate via a trackable method. The last thing you want is for them to blame you for something. If you use a trackable method of communication, you’ll be able to have proof that you are doing your job.

Jared Atchison, WPForms

6. Check Your Assumptions

Never make an assumption about someone. You may not like one of your co-workers because they seem to always be in a foul mood, but the truth is you don’t know why. They may have something going on in their life that is making them behave this way. Try to learn about them to see where they are coming from. You may not like them more, but at least you will understand why they are the way they are.

Adrien Schmidt, Bouquet.ai

7. Talk Openly About Your Professional Relationship

We’ve found that dislike can come from miscommunication or unstated assumptions. By working on the relationship and talking openly about challenges and frustrations, you’re more likely to build trust. As a company, we’ve created a system for new employees to meet everyone in the company over time. This helps employees feel more comfortable having open conversations if there is a problem later on.

Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh Inc.

8. Ask for Advice on Managing the Relationship

If they’re causing problems, seek out advice from others at your job to find out if there’s a way you can get along with that co-worker. Maybe that co-worker is really good friends with someone else in the office, you could ask them for advice on how to work together better, without gossiping. You could also someone in HR for some resources to help you manage this working relationship better.

– Blair Williams, MemberPress

workplace conflict mediation

9. Get a Mediator

Being extremely professional can help when working with a person you find unpleasant, but this can only take you so far. A far more effective strategy is to have a third party work with you — someone who is on good terms with both of you and is generally nice to have around. This third person serves as a mediator that can prevent arguments or passive-aggressive behavior from either of you.

Bryce Welker, CPA Exam Guy

10. Be Transparent

Our company prides itself on everyone getting along great. It makes for a happier, more productive workplace. If we discover people are not getting along, we call it out. It may be a bit different than how other places handle the issue, but the transparency allows us to all talk out the problem and find the best way to resolve it.

Colbey Pfund, LFNT Distribution

11. Be Professional Above All Else

It is great if you get along with everyone you work with, but sometimes you will find yourself working side by side with someone you may not enjoy. The key to getting through this is to keep your eye on the prize. If you are both working toward the same goal, be professional, respectful and get your work done. At the end of the day, you can go your separate directions.

Zach Binder, Bell + Ivy