Nine Tips for Working With Someone You Don’t Get Along With

As an entrepreneur, there will be times in your career when you have to work with someone you may not necessarily get along with but who is key to helping you achieve your goals. What’s your best tip for dealing with this? Why?

Businesswoman collaborating

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. Find Common Ground

One of the best ways to deal with a difficult person in a professional setting is to try to understand their perspective and find common ground. This can help build a sense of rapport and make it easier to work together effectively. It’s also important to communicate honestly and to set clear boundaries to ensure that the working relationship is productive and respectful.

Renato Agrella, Acerca Consulting

2. Set Boundaries

The key to working with someone you don’t get along with is to set boundaries and keep the discussions centered around work. You don’t have time for personal squabbles when a much larger project needs to be addressed. I’ve found that keeping things clean and professional removes a lot of unnecessary friction and makes it easier for people to get things done.

John Turner, SeedProd LLC

3. Be Open and Honest

Communicate openly and honestly about your concerns or issues with the other person. This can help you to address any issues and find a way to move forward. Furthermore, setting boundaries and establishing clear lines of understanding are important. This can help to prevent misunderstandings and conflicts and maintain a productive and effective working relationship.

Kelly Richardson, Infobrandz

Business strategic meeting
photo credit: Olia Danilevich / Pexels

4. Focus on the Task at Hand

My best tip is to focus on the task at hand. When you don’t get along with someone, it’s easy to get distracted and derailed from the goal that is most important for your business. That’s why I always try to focus on the task and not the person. I remind myself that even if we don’t get along, it’s still important for me to accomplish this goal. This is a powerful way to reframe the issue.

Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

5. Break the Ice

Try doing certain things for them to break the ice. Try simple gestures like taking them out for lunch or gifting them something on special occasions. Perhaps even a smile a day or some talk about hobbies you both like or a topic where you both find common ground are great to explore. Small, positive gestures can sometimes make some of the most significant changes, as we are reciprocal creatures.

Brian David Crane, Spread Great Ideas

6. Get Rid of Your Assumptions

The first step is to try to get rid of any assumptions you’re making about the other person. Sometimes, we conclude we don’t like someone based on a single interaction or even something we’ve heard secondhand. That said, you may try your best and still not like someone. Then you just have to put up a boundary between your personal feelings and the task at hand. Keep it professional.

Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

First client meeting

7. Keep It Professional

When you have to work with someone you may not necessarily like, try to keep things strictly professional. You don’t have to like one another to make this work. You need to collaborate with them to achieve your goals, and they probably seek your assistance as well. So, it’s best that you keep your eye on the prize. This will help avoid conflict and unnecessary confrontations.

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

8. Put Your Mission First

When you’re a business leader, your mission has to come first. You might be dealing with immature people, but remember that it’s temporary. If you place the good of your mission ahead of the desires of your ego, you will win in the long run. The achievement of putting the mission first will last longer than the slights you might endure while dealing with a difficult personality.

Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts

9. Have Patience

As an entrepreneur, you may often have to work with people you don’t get along with. But, you do it anyway to achieve your goals. Such associations are often short-lived as both parties part ways when the job is done. So, whether it’s a particular skill, investment or anything else that you seek from this collaboration, empathy is the key to making things work between you two.

Chris Klosowski, Easy Digital Downloads