With every interaction we have at work – whether it’s with coworkers or bosses or clients – we’re bound to face people who are more (ahem) challenging to get along with. And trust me, I’ve worked with plenty of people in my career who I didn’t always vibe with.
But even though we don’t always enjoy the people we work with, I do think there’s something to be learned from every relationship.
Here are three ways to help you work and even (gasp) collaborate with some of your not-so-favorite people:
- Set Boundaries!
Every relationship needs guard rails and the trickier relationships definitely need to have specific and clear expectations. Don’t want to be emailed relentlessly at 2 am – let them know that the first time they do it. Feel triggered every time you get off a conference call with someone– make sure you schedule 10 min in between meetings so you can decompress and not carry it into the next interaction. Boundaries go both ways – make sure you set them for yourself and others.
- Don’t answer every email:
How amazing do you feel just reading that this is an option?!? Yes. You don’t have to answer every email from a person who you don’t enjoy. Don’t go radio silent but you also don’t have to jump every time they e mail you. Take a moment. Compose your thoughts. Walk away. Take the night. Unless it’s life or death, it truly can wait. This doesn’t just go for people who annoy you – but a good e mail lesson in general. Answer them when you are in a better mood. It’ll make a world of difference.
- Pick your battles:
Not everything is worth fighting for. Don’t waste your energy on the things that truly don’t matter. There will always be sucky people in the world. Don’t let them live rent free in your head for so long. Even if they hold positions of power – you hold the ultimate power – the gateway to your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
Stop to think about what you can do to better the relationship on your end. And if you get to the point where you need to have a conversation with this person, be open to listening to their criticism as well. Listening and learning from our communication with others will ultimately help us grow.