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Career Advice

Don’t like someone at your job? Here’s what you can do to improve the situation
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Written by Natalie Barresi

Branded Content Creator

10 ways to deal with someone you don’t like at work 


Do you love your job or company but not your boss or certain coworkers? This can cause tension and hurt your motivation or performance levels. So what do you do?

It’s common to not like your coworkers or boss and it’s no big surprise. Life has a way of throwing all sorts of curve balls at you. Don’t let these people bring you down, there are always ways to improve a situation.


1. Deal with the roots of the problem first


It’s important to understand what’s making you uncomfortable before taking action.

When you don’t like your coworkers or boss, you need to identify what is really causing the dislike and then figure out how to deal with it. Some people think that it’s because of those people’s behaviors but in most cases, it’s because they haven’t been able to adapt to working with a specific person. If you’re going through this situation, try asking yourself these questions:

    • Is it my manager or coworker’s work style or personality?
    • Have I been able to communicate my expectations?
    • Do we have different ideas about work?


You might think that they don’t seem to like you. Think about how they treat others, is it different from how they treat you? Are they biased when giving you feedback on your performances or is it neutral? 

When you don’t like your boss or coworkers, for example, try thinking back on past work colleagues and whether they had any similar traits. Were there other issues that surfaced when working with them? Are there other aspects of yourself that make them difficult to deal with? If so, then take steps to improve those parts of yourself — and see if that makes a difference in how well you get along with others at work.

Also think about if the problem is really your team or if it’s related to the job on its own. Are you dissatisfied with your salary or benefits? Do you work too much? Once you figure out what the real issue is, it can be much easier to resolve it.


2. Analyze your own behavior


Do you speak up when you should? Do you take initiative? Do you share feedback with your team members? If yes, then this is probably not about you! It’s about how others are treating you or how they are communicating with each other. If not, then it’s time for some self-reflection and some coaching.

Think about what you don’t like about your boss or coworkers. Perhaps they do things that you don’t like but you have the same habits. So when these actions reflect on you, you don’t like them. You might be projecting your own feelings on others because it’s easier than confronting those emotions. 

Whatever the case, it’s also important to remember that not everyone is going to like you and that’s ok. If you only focus on being liked by everyone, you’ll forget to meet your own needs which, over time, will just make you unhappy. 

Even in toxic situations, you should maintain a level of self-awareness to make sure you’re not adding to the issue.


3. Know your value


If you get caught in a situation where you don’t like someone you work with, just know you are not alone and it happens to many people. Also remember that while you deserve to be treated with respect, you need to also make sure you do the same to others. If someone treats you poorly, try your best to treat them with kindness.

It’s essential that you value yourself and stay positive. Creating boundaries might help improve things. If someone makes a comment that makes you feel uncomfortable, tell them that it’s not appropriate or it’s unprofessional. Just know that your time is important and you shouldn’t waste your energy on these negative people.


4. Get some distance on the situation


Ask others for their perspective on the issue. Perhaps you interpret your boss or coworke’s behavior differently than others do. Talk to others for advice on how to deal with it but always look for a solution to make the relationship work. 

Going down the negative path might leave others with a poor impression of you.


5. Make sure that you stay professional


You’re not a little kid, so don’t act like one even if others are being immature. Try to be the bigger person. You may not like someone at work but you should still be polite, you don’t need to be best friends. Just continue doing your job as best you can. 

Be positive. This is contagious and will make others feel better too. If you feel good and your work friends do as well, the workplace will be more healthy.


6. Consider a possible transfer within the company


See if changing departments is a possibility. Perhaps you can change departments and work with a different team to improve your situation. 

Another option could be to ask to work remotely. Not being at the office could limit the amount of interactions you have with that person. 

If not, or if you believe remaining at the company will continue to cause problems, it might be time to go. Don’t quit your job before finding a new one. Update your CV and find a team that you will feel comfortable and motivated to work with. 

You didn’t choose to work with a boss or coworker that you don’t like, but you can choose whether you want to continue working with them or not. Think about what you want in an ideal employer or work environment. Check your priorities and find a company that matches yours. 

If you decide to stay at your job, try to find ways to make your current role more exciting and interesting.


7. Make a list of the positives in your job.


Working in a toxic workplace can lead to burnout or other mental health issues. So being grateful and having a positive mindset is crucial to fight unhappiness at work. 

Think about what you enjoy most about your job. When you start your day, focus on those things that make you happy and grateful for the job. Try to imagine that your workday will be productive and that you will be able to spend time with your favorite coworkers. 

Only you can control how you feel so always try to avoid negativity. It’s difficult but be proud of yourself for doing your best. Focus your energy on meeting your goals and connecting with the people at work who actually make you feel good.


8. Ask yourself if this situation is temporary


Think about if you are just going through a tough time and it’s affecting how you feel at work. Perhaps your coworkers or boss are going through the motions but it’s not permanent. 

If it’s temporary, focus on your work. Forget the interpersonal drama and do your best to perform well.


9. Try to see from their point of view


Think about what they might be going through or the pressure they might be under. So try to be empathetic because it might lead them to do the same with you, which will improve things for everyone.

Your coworkers or boss might have different personalities than you. Which means they might express things differently than you. Try to be open-minded and accepting of who they are. Obviously, this can only be taken to certain limits. If they continue to cross your limits then it’s not about their personality and you might want to talk to HR.


10. Try to talk to your boss or other coworkers


If you feel comfortable enough to speak up, you can express your issues about the behavior that’s bothering you. In this case, try to communicate it in a way that shows a willingness to improve the situation instead of emphasizing that it’s a problem. 

If this talk doesn’t help, then you may need to speak to a superior or HR. If there are other colleagues who also feel the same as you, reporting in a group will create a stronger case. Make sure you have documented evidence of the person’s inappropriate behavior. Explain how it impacts your job and ability to be productive. 


💡Having strong boundaries at work is critical for your success and peace of mind. Find out how to draw the line and say no. Read more here →


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