As I think back on my journey what has made me grow the most was leading difficult people. There was a time when I would just leave them where they are and would not give them another chance. Then I realized at some point I was difficult as well to work with. I am sure many of my bosses (yes I was fired from many jobs, lol) would cringe when they saw me coming. I was always late, did not like to be told what to do and really did not care.
I know, It’s difficult to work with someone you think doesn’t like you. Most people don’t respond to it well. They often do one of the following:
- Hide from the person: Many people go into avoidance mode.
- Hinder the person: Another common response is to become passive-aggressive. We don’t do anything directly destructive.
- Harm the person: The worst of all responses is to try to punish or harm the person who doesn’t like us. That causes us to lose integrity.
Instead you need to take the high road. You cannot control anyones response to you. He or she may never love working with you. But you can do everything in your power to make sure that you are not the cause of the problem. You do that by…
Processing Your Emotions
Over time, if your negative emotions are left unchecked and allowed to brew, they will overflow into every area of your working – and maybe also your private – life. These negative emotions can influence our decision making, taint how we view relationships, and affect how we lead our people. For that reason we need to feel our emotions regularly. We must acknowledge how we feel, work through any hurt feelings, and move on. Otherwise we’re likely to hold a grudge.
Looking for Common Ground
Everyone sees the world from his or her own unique perspective. Whenever and wherever possible, look for points of agreement with your leader. And when you find them, focus on those things you have in common rather than the differences that set you apart. If you are united in a common goal, start there.
Being Consistently Pleasant
Have you ever heard the phrase “Kill them with kindness”? People often soften if you stay constant when they are not – when you are sincere, kind, helpful and pleasant despite their choices and behavior. And remember, as poet Kahlil Gibran asserted, “Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.”
Going the Extra Mile
Film director William C. de Mille quipped, “I have always admired the ability to bite off more than one can chew, and then chew it.” If you want to please people, go above and beyond expectations. Most of the differences between average people and top people can be explained in three words: “and then some.” If you do your job and then some, people will be drawn to you, maybe even your boss.
Sometimes people dislike another person without good reasons. That could be the case with you and your leader. All you can do is try to connect on common ground and be a great employee. It’s difficult to dislike someone who consistently treats people with kindness, does the job well, and goes above and beyond what is expected. If you do all those things and your leader still doesn’t like you, you can take comfort in knowing that you are probably not the cause of the problem.