The employee roster at your company is composed of a variety of personalities. In a perfect world, these differences would mesh perfectly, allowing each person to work harmoniously and excel at what they do best. Unfortunately, conflicting personas are often a part of work. Even when you get along well with the majority of your coworkers, there are probably certain individuals you get along with better than others.
Hopefully you do not have a close colleague that you absolutely cannot stand. Interacting with people you dislike is never ideal, but can be unbearable when you work with them on a regular basis. Even if your aversion to them is fueled by understandable feelings and sound reasoning, you need to rise above the animosity to work effectively and maintain a healthy environment.
4 Ways to Improve Communications with a Contentious Coworker
1. Address the Problem
Gossip travels fast in an office. Chances are, if you and a certain colleague are at odds, everyone knows there is an issue. Take the person aside and address the elephant in the room head-on. While it will probably be awkward, it can ease the tension caused by your mutual disdain. Talking the problem out should help you both get past it, and it will make working together much easier.
2. Try to Find Common Ground
A failure to understand and empathize with one another might be at the root of why you and a co-worker are not getting along. Rectify the problem by making a point to get to know them better. Ask them out to lunch and focus on learning more about their life outside of work. Leave your differences in the office and simply try to enjoy yourselves as two people spending an hour of quality time together.
3. Learn to Speak Up
Like many people, you may keep quiet, silently festering over everything certain co-workers do that annoys you, letting the frustration build over time. Sometimes it is best to keep quiet, but speaking up right away is usually the better option. Talking the issue out immediately is the healthier option, because it stops resentment from growing. When you let the other person know where you stand, they have an opportunity to make changes that please both of you.
4. Be the Bigger Person
When all else fails, try to focus on the positive. If an irritating colleague seems to be trying to get under your skin, refuse to let them win. Instead, take a deep breath and focus on the person’s positive qualities. At times, you may need to cool down a bit to avoid saying something you might regret. Come back with a calm demeanor, clear focus and a resolve to get the job done.
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