Let’s face it. Everyone has that co-worker or client. You see an email or voice message from them, and you tense up. You just don’t like this person; and sometimes you can tell that the feeling is mutual. Don’t let this stressful relationship ruin your work or your wellbeing. Instead, take some steps and understand and improve it:
- Reflect on the cause of the tension and how you’re responding to it. Realize that there is value in every interaction with another person. Determine what you can learn from the person and focus on that. Be honest about what is causing the stress. How might your words or actions be contributing to the situation?
- Focus on being a problem solver instead of a critic. Sit the person down and ask, ‘How do you think we could work better today? What are things about our collaborations that you would like to change? Give the other person a chance to be honest – without consequences – about their feelings.
- Enhance your awareness of your interpersonal style. For instance, compare Myers-Briggs scores or the results of similar tests/assessments. Elsewhere, compare notes on how each of you might handle a task or problem and discuss your differences.
- Ask for help. Seek the person’s input on how you could work with him/her or others better. Are there things you don’t know or understand about the organizational culture? What can you learn from the person’s experiences with the company?