How to Work with People You Don’t Like

When anyone asks me what I like about working at Frito Lay, I always tell them it’s my team. Luckily for me, the statement is actually true. But I haven’t been able to say that throughout my entire career. I, like many people, have experienced misunderstandings, issues and conflicts at work. In addition to being extremely stressful during the workday, they can impact personal lives and future career decisions.

When I found myself in those situations, I had to remember that I was the only person responsible for my thoughts, feelings and actions. The only way to work with someone you don’t like is to change your own mindset and behaviors. The moment I stopped blaming someone else, I was able to regain my power and resolve any conflict that threatened my productivity or peace of mind.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to resolving workplace conflicts. But if you do have an issue with someone at work, here are a few strategies that might work for you.

  • Be honest about the facts and resist the urge to draw your own conclusions about someone’s intentions, thoughts or feelings.

  • Replace accusations with questions. If someone rubbed you the wrong way, develop a genuine curiosity about their behavior before you take things personally. After taking a few moments – or days – to calm down, find an appropriate moment (avoid crunch times) to gain clarity.

  • Seek guidance and support from your manager or a trusted leader. It’s OK to ask for help as long as you have the right intentions and remain professional. About a year ago, I kept receiving rude email responses from one of my colleagues. I showed the emails to my manager just to make sure I wasn’t being too sensitive. When she read them, we came up with a solid game plan to address the issue. Everything has been smooth sailing since then.

At the end of the day, we all show up to work to drive results and get paid. It’s a lot easier to do that when we can get along with each other. We won’t always be best friends with our cubicle/office neighbor. But we are all responsible for creating the right work environment. Be the person who will help create a culture of professionalism, respect and results.

Or…settle things the good ol’ fashioned way.