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Agree to disagree: 3 rules of interacting with a colleague you don’t get along with

Nidhi Agarwal
28th Apr 2016
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It is a well-established fact that being a good worker is not enough; one must also be team player and share camaraderie with colleagues. However, no matter how amicable you may be, it is practically impossible to be agreeable to everyone around you. After all, you will have an opinion that may be vastly different from someone else’s at some point of time. Most of us end up having that one colleague we don’t quite get along with, So while it’s perfectly normal to be in this pickle, you need a modus operandi in place to deal with such unpleasant situations.

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(image credit – Shutterstock)

Let’s see how we can agree to disagree, thereby co-exist without obstructing work or annihilating the office environment:

Avoid concluding too quickly

It’s generally a good idea to give people the benefit of the doubt at the first instance, because you will always have the option of forming an opinion and disliking them later! Sometimes, we can misunderstand people with our limited knowledge. If your co-worker snapped at you or made a snide remark on some occasion, it may help to overlook the first time. Over-thinking can sometimes be counterproductive and make non-existent problems look real. However, if his/her behaviour persists, one can always keep the interaction limited to work and not let it affect productivity. After all, it is humanly impossible to be friends with and liked by everyone. Plus, let’s face it, when you need to get work done sometimes you have to lose the congeniality and be an effective project manager. It is also important to remember that we all go to work with the ultimate objective of doing well professionally, so staying focussed on your mission is critical.

Maintain work etiquette

No matter how much you may dislike a colleague, it is important to stay cordial and exchange pleasantries. Returning calls and emails promptly is also a way of showing courtesy to colleagues (even if you do not like them). You must be as objective as possible if you happen to work on a project together and not let personal opinions come in your way of accepting or extending work-related support.

It is also advisable to consciously keep personal conversations at bay to avoid impending conflict/argument. Keep the conversation polite and yet to the point and you will manage to sail through without experiencing or causing any discomfort.

Maintain your dignity, that’s what defines you

If the co-worker is evidently sabotaging your progress or constantly putting you down, turn a blind eye to it. It is sometimes natural to retaliate, even more so to prevent this becoming a norm. However, disengaging from an unpleasant discussion and walking away will actually help you take control and decide your course of action. Rather than falling right into their trap, be as dignified and passive as possible. This will not only take your colleague by surprise but also deny them the joy of ruining your day. Coming across unfazed can, in fact, be the best way to get back at a colleague trying to act nasty.

It is virtually impossible to get along with everyone (more so if you work together) and, more often than not, you’ll find yourself rubbing people the wrong way while trying to get a job done right. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the ultimate purpose of going to work is to stay true to your job commitments. And making a few unhappy in the bargain is a little price to pay for getting things done to perfection!

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