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  • Writer's pictureRalph Kellogg

Bossing It: A Guide to Managing People You Don't Like

Managing people is a challenging task, even more so when you find yourself in the position of managing someone you don't particularly like. Whether it's due to conflicting personalities, differing work styles, or past disagreements, it's essential to handle the situation with professionalism and tact. Here are some strategies to help you navigate this delicate terrain:

1. Acknowledge Bias:

The first step in managing someone you don't like is acknowledging your feelings and biases. Reflect on why you feel this way and try to identify any underlying reasons. Understanding your own emotions can help you manage them more effectively and prevent them from affecting your professional judgment.

2.       Focus on Objectivity:

When interacting with the individual you dislike, strive to maintain a sense of objectivity. Base your evaluations and decisions on concrete facts and performance metrics rather than personal feelings. This approach can help you remain fair and impartial in your dealings with them.

3.       Communicate Clearly:

Effective communication is crucial when managing any team member, but it becomes even more critical when there's tension between you and the other person. Be clear and direct in your communication, providing constructive feedback and setting expectations openly. Avoid letting personal animosity cloud your messages.

4.       Seek Common Ground:

Despite your differences, try to find common ground with the individual you don't like. Focus on shared goals and objectives, emphasizing the importance of working together towards a common purpose. Building rapport based on mutual interests can help improve your working relationship.

5.       Set Boundaries:

It's essential to establish clear boundaries to maintain a professional relationship, especially when personal feelings are involved. Define acceptable behaviors and standards of conduct and address any instances of inappropriate behavior promptly and assertively.

6.       Lead by Example:

As a manager, your behavior sets the tone for the entire team. Demonstrate professionalism, respect, and fairness in all your interactions, regardless of your personal feelings towards individual team members. Leading by example can inspire others to follow suit and contribute to a more positive work environment.


7.       Focus on the Positive:

Instead of dwelling on your negative feelings towards the individual, focus on their strengths and contributions. Recognize their achievements publicly and offer praise when deserved. Shifting your perspective towards the positive aspects of their work can help mitigate feelings of animosity.

8.       Seek Support if Necessary:

If managing someone you don't like becomes too challenging or starts affecting your ability to perform your duties effectively, don't hesitate to seek support from your own manager or a trusted colleague. They can offer guidance, advice, and perspective to help you navigate the situation more successfully.

9.       Work Towards Resolution:

In some cases, it may be possible to address and resolve the underlying issues causing your dislike towards the individual. Consider having a candid conversation with them to address any misunderstandings or grievances and work towards finding a mutually acceptable resolution.

10.   Practice Self-Care:

Managing someone you don't like can be emotionally draining, so it's crucial to prioritize self-care. Take time to recharge and decompress outside of work, engage in activities that bring you joy, and seek support from friends and family when needed.

Managing someone you don't like requires patience, professionalism, and emotional intelligence. By acknowledging your biases, communicating effectively, and focusing on common goals, you can navigate this challenging situation with grace and integrity, ultimately fostering a more productive and harmonious work environment for everyone involved.


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