How to Work with People You Don’t Like Using Emotional Intelligence

In life, we don’t get to choose our family. The same goes for our colleagues. 

We’ve all had colleagues we wished would just leave the organisation – but they don’t. Dealing with someone you don’t like can be draining at the best of times.

To further compound this, we also seem to spend more time with colleagues than with our family. However, sometimes the problem isn’t with the person, but rather ourselves.

So first consider: is it them or me?

If the person is asking rudely “Are you going to be on time?” – does it necessarily indicate that the person is mean and too picky? Or is it because you’ve occasionally been late in the past few weeks?

So if the reason for the tension in the relationship is in your behaviour, you can solve the problem by changing it.


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6 Tips for Working with Difficult People

However, if you’ve tried fixing the relationship and always behave respectfully, but the person’s attitude doesn’t seem to change – I’ve got some tips for you:

1. Be the Better Person

One of the first things we say to our clients is, “We must not become the people we despise”!

Easier said than done!

When someone is acting negatively towards you, it’s very easy to start responding in the same way.

So you should be very careful about your reactions and responses to situations.

2. Avoid Unnecessary Bias

Science says that it’s very difficult for us to accept excellent proposals or ideas from people we simply don’t like.

In a bias known as reactive devaluation, we tend to place less value, or even a negative value, on ideas or proposals from people we distrust or dislike.

The key here is to manage, or suspend, that distrust and dislike.

3. Stay Away from The Difficult Person

Avoid spending too much time in the company of the person you dislike.

When you’re in the same place, try to keep the interaction formal and professional and stick to what you have to say, and then leave. 

4. Avoid the Drama

Sometimes these people want to create lots of drama around their persona, but any drama needs an audience.

So avoid being an audience and remove yourself from the situation as soon as you feel it could get out of control. 

5. Look Forward to Something

Think of something to look forward to after work.

Working closely with a person you don’t like can really suck out all the energy.

So having something pleasant in mind to look forward to will help you get through the day in the office.

6. Work on Self-Control

Finally, the only person who can control you is yourself.

So you need to work on yourself in order to manage your behaviour and emotions because if you can’t do it, you are at the mercy of the other person.

Avoiding people we don’t like at work isn’t easy, especially if you work in close proximity.

Use these tips to make your work life a little easier.

Need help with your work relationships? I want to help you.

Sign up for Executive Coaching with me and let’s improve your work-life.


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How to Work with People You Don’t Like
Picture of Natalie Brown

Natalie Brown

Keynote Speaker, Executive Coach, and Group CEO at Select Training.

Work with me
Picture of Natalie Brown

Natalie Brown

Keynote Speaker, Executive Coach, and Group CEO at Select Training.

Work with me

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