How To Manage People You Don’t Like

In the world of innovation, diversity of thought is necessary. Really, every business needs diversity of thought regardless of what business they’re in. Diversity of thought comes from diversity of experiences from people from all walks of life. Diversity of thought gives a team perspective, multiples ones, not just one. Naturally, this will create conflict. Not everyone will get along, and that’s just the way it goes most of the time.

Heck, some people on your team might not like you. But, what if you don’t like someone on your team? Will you fire them? Will you block them? Will you isolate them? Or, will you figure out ways to put asside any differences and make it work? Most people, opt to not deal with it. Personally, I’ve found ways to make it work by finding common ground.

But there are times when it just won’t work if one person chooses not to do so. For example, one thing I don’t like is arrogance and superiority; I just don’t tolerate it. Many years ago I confronted someone who worked for me, a manager, whom I was told would belittle people on other teams while I was out of the office. He also had riffs with my COO, who did a great job of dealing with him but it all came to a head during a week I was traveling for business.

I decided to fire him once I came back.

Similarly, I’ve had situations where the other person was open minded about their behavior and changed It’s a simple chat that goes something like this: I know you don’t like me for whatever reason. We don’t have to be friends and like each other in order to do this. Still, what I do like is bla bla bla…

Anyway, it’s hard to dislike someone completely. You’d be incredibily biased if you assume a position of outright dislike for someone. Sometimes the reason you dislike someone is a mismatch in values and / or beliefs. To overcome this, I’ve focused on the following:

  • Remember you’re on the same team and work for the customer.
  • Recognize why you don’t like this person and what triggers it.
  • Recognize what you do like about the person.
  • Put it on the table and move forward from there.

Bottom line: As a leader you’ll have to lead people you don’t like. Homogeneity breeds failure. Surrounding yourself with people you do like is a disaster in the making because it will shrink your perspective. Remember, where all think alike nobody thinks very much. You don’t have to be friends with everyone in order to get the job done, you just have to find common ground from where to move forward.