How do you collaborate with someone you don’t like? They’re not toxic or difficult, you just have different styles, and they rub you the wrong way. It all starts with reflecting on the cause of the tension. Remind yourself: You won’t get along with everyone, but there is potential value in every interaction. Take an honest look at what is causing the tension with you and your colleague and what role you play in creating it. Try to understand your colleague’s perspective. Few people get out of bed in the morning with the goal of making your life miserable. Make time to think deliberately about the other person’s point of view, especially if that person is essential to your success. Rather than trying to work through or around the other person, engage them directly, and try to understand your difference in interpersonal style. You may realize that your styles could be complimentary if you adapt your approaches. Lastly, ask for help. It shows that you value their intelligence and experience.
A few months ago, a former client — let’s call her Kacie— called me to check in. I had supported her through her transition when she had joined a prestigious global financial services firm several months prior. Given how deliberately and thoughtfully she’d gone through the process, I expected that our conversation would be about her early wins.
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