Don’t Like Your Colleague? 14 Tips to Develop a More Positive Working Relationship

What’s one tip you have for working with someone you don’t necessarily like? How can you overcome this dislike to form a positive working relationship?

Businesswomen having a serious buiness talk in a meeting

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

1. Ask Yourself Why You Don’t Like Them

First, ask yourself why you don’t like them and what about yourself you are neglecting that reflects in this person. The best way to overcome the dislike and form a positive working relationship is to understand why you’re in that environment in the first place and what positive impact you are making for the world that is greater than your dislike for this person. Focus on that and you’ll overcome it.

Laura Egocheaga, Viral Growth Media

2. Talk About It

Any disputes, personality clashes or differences can be resolved with a simple conversation. When a colleague gets under your skin, there’s a probability that they feel and think the same about you. If you don’t address it soon, then it tends to fester. So, organize a private chat to talk things out. Try to pick a time when you feel calm and relaxed.

Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz

3. Limit Social Interactions With Them

We’ve all had co-workers we don’t like at some point. But being cordial and professional to all co-workers is key to a calm workplace. If there’s someone you don’t like for whatever reason, don’t share personal experiences with them. Keep your social interaction to a minimum while being cordial.

Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

4. Find One Redeeming Quality About Them

I try to find a redeeming quality about this person or something I really appreciate about them. I try to focus on seeing the best in people and how they add value to the business. Everyone has aspects of their personalities that are not pleasant. Accepting this goes a long way and helps you to enjoy working with all types of people.

Carrie Rich, The Global Good Fund

Business planning and goal setting

5. Focus on the Project Goals

Working with someone you don’t get along with isn’t easy, but focusing on your dislike for them will only make it harder. Instead, focus on the goals of the project. You are working toward something greater. To help your focus, set boundaries for your relationship. Communication and time boundaries will help limit your negative interactions and build a project-focused, productive environment.

Shaun Conrad, Guitar Repair Bench

6. Be the Bigger Person

If you’re a leader, be the adult in the room. See the best in that person. Ask yourself: What’s the true mission? What is a victory for my team versus a victory for my own ego? Am I being fair? Balance that with a commitment to not waste your own time or anybody else’s. If the relationship fundamentally doesn’t work, simply move on.

Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts

7. Get to the Root of the Problem

I know it’s hard, but you have to let your emotions take the backseat and focus on the thoughts of the other person. Figure out why your working relationship with this person isn’t doing so well and get to the root of the problem. The longer you leave it alone, the bigger it’s going to get.

Maria Thimothy, OneIMS

8. Agree to Be Cordial

It’s impossible to get along with every single person you meet, but you can learn how to deal with them in a professional environment. Instead of dwelling on how much you dislike this person when you have to be around them, accept that you need to work together and will have to be around each other. Therefore, you change your mindset and agree to be cordial in your current situation.

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

9. Try to Understand Their Motivations

Try to understand the psychology of the other person and their motivations for behaviors that trigger you. Leave your ego behind and set boundaries for your collaboration. This includes your own attitude toward them. Do not discount the possibility that their behavior is a reflection of behaviors that you possess or that are deeper triggers. Go in, do not act out, in business relationships.

Matthew Capala, Alphametic

Mutual respect between a team leader and member

10. Always Be Respectful

Be respectful and keep your distance. Never try to stir up trouble with a controversial remark, whether it’s about work, politics or any other touchy subject. If they try to engage you in the rumor mill, opt out. To form a positive relationship, focus on common things, whether it’s personal like a sports team affiliation or professional like a situation where you jointly participated in a successful project.

Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

11. Listen to Their Perspective

Understand that you are not working to be liked and to like people. Your purpose for working is to be a blessing to the company and find joy and peace in the workplace, not to please everyone and to like everyone around you. Find the time to listen to other people’s perspectives, even the ones you don’t like, for there’s something to learn from everyone.

Daisy Jing, Banish

12. Try to Get Them to Like You

While you don’t have to like each other at work, you do have to respect your colleagues and collaborate with them to achieve business goals. I think that even if you don’t personally like a co-worker, you could get them to like you. Try to ask them about their interests or appreciate their hobby or family. Over time, you may even learn enough about them to like them.

Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

13. Find Common Ground

We all have differences of opinion. That’s what makes people different from others. But I believe that it’s best to consider why you dislike the person and then find common ground to make things work. A good way of doing that is to focus on the person’s skills rather than their behavior or traits. That’s what matters when it comes to professional relationships.

Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

14. Compartmentalize What You Don’t Like

Let’s face it: You’re going to have disagreements with co-workers at some point in your career. Instead of letting these moments define your experience with that person, look at it as one piece of their personality. Approaching social interactions with this mentality means you can see the person for who they are, instead of the one idea or personality trait that you don’t like.

John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC