Working with people you clash with

by | Jun 24, 2017

How to get around people you clash with

It's always difficult to get along people you clash with. Find out how to deal with workplace conflict with tips from Esther Meyers.

We will never get on with everyone we meet. Not everyone we meet will like us. Having people you clash with can be frustrating especially if it’s in the work place. Maybe they’re always under your feet, try to take credit for you ideas or perhaps they’re just plain annoying. Whatever the reason, having a less than amicable relationship in the workplace is detrimental to everyone.  Here’s some tips to try and traps to avoid when negotiating with people you clash with.

People you clash with
1. Try to find the root of the problem and see if you can change it

Is it an intrinsic personality problem, or do they just do things that irritate you? If it’s a question of bad habits rather than them as a person, a quick chat could be enough to stop the animosity. Be open but firm and give them a chance to speak. For example if it’s someone with a nasty habit of interrupting you could ask ‘I find you often speak over me in meetings. I find it quite hard to negotiate around and wondered if you’d realised you were doing it? This not only gives them a chance to realise if they have been doing it subconsciously, but also gives them a chance to apologise, even if not. This could be the quickest way to nip problems with people you clash with in the bud.

Read: How to manage workplace politics without drama

2. See if you can change your first impression

If it is a personality clash, try to be the bigger person and see if you can change your view of them. Give them a chance to open up and chat with you. We all forget that everyone has things going on outside of the workplace. Maybe they’re not rude but incredibly shy, or use loud boisterous behaviour to cover home life issues. See if you can get past your bad first impression, you never know, you might make a new friend.

Read: How to correct your boss without losing your job

3. Don’t fall into the sabotage trap

So it’s not an unconscious irritation and it’s really just them as a person that you clash with; now what do you do?  What you shouldn’t do is fall into the sabotage trap." When we dislike someone it’s much easier to notice every mistake and slip up. The temptation is to report each error and score points with your employer. They will, however, cotton onto this very quickly and could actually dismiss serious reports from you as ‘well they don’t like each other’ and could damage your credibility. Keep an eye but don’t speak up unless it’s really necessary; if they really are terrible at their job, it’ll get noticed soon enough.

Read: The struggle with workplace boundaries

4. Be careful who you vent to

We all love a good moan about work and people we work with but be careful who you do it to. You don’t know who is actually friendly with the person you dislike or who might overhear you. You don’t want to be labelled as the office bitch. Keep venting to people outside of your work circle and don’t say anything you wouldn’t be happy to be called out on.

Read: 4 approaches to tackling bullying in the workplace

5. Bring in HR

If you’ve tried all this and you are still clashing drastically with the other person, to the point where it’s affecting your work or the office atmosphere, then it may be worth bringing HR in. Have a calm meeting where you can air you grievances and work out ways around it, such as moving desks. This shouldn’t be done lightly, but if you really, really clash with someone it may be the best thing for you and your colleagues.

At the end of the day, resisting pettiness and rising above it is easier said than done, but being the bigger person will make you happier in the long run and will prove to your bosses just how professional you can be.

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Esther Myers Contributor
Esther Myers is a Drama graduate who teaches children with disabilities and is heavily involved in women’s rights movements. She lives in London but often travels back to Yorkshire to see family and friends. She enjoys going to the theatre, being involved in feminist forums and Motown music. She works in a pub part time and wants to write about work and online issues facing modern women, as well as about intersectional issues.

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