3 Tips for Working On A Project With A Co-Worker You Can’t Stand

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If you have a job other than being the sole person working in a company run by yourself, you likely have had experiences at work with a co-worker or supervisor that you didn’t get along with so well. And while normally it’s easy to just avoid someone in your office that you don’t particularly enjoy, if you’re ever required to work on a project or collaborate with them, things can get a little sticky. So to help you get through this ordeal and ensure that you still have your job at the end of it, here are three tips for working on a project with a co-worker you can’t stand.

Keep Your Expectations In Check

Expectations can make or break any type of experience, especially when they’re swinging high in one direction over the other. Often your expectations will help to determine the reality, which is why Gwen Moran, a contributor to FastCompany.com, recommends keeping your expectations in check before you start working with this co-worker. If you expect that you and your co-worker will magically become best friends after being bitter enemies, you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment. On the flipside, if you imagine spending hours arguing and irritating each other, that is bound to happen as well. Rather, Moran suggests going in expecting your co-worker to be different from you—not better or worse, but just different. This will help control your expectation and leave you open to whatever is going to happen.

Kindness vs Brutality

We’ve often heard the idea that you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar, but is that really the case in a workplace situation? According to Cheryl Stein, a contributor to Monster.com, yes and no. Stein shares that in some instances, trying to be extra kind and compassionate could be just what your relationship with your co-worker needs to get over your differences. However, in other circumstances, your co-worker may need some tough love in order to see the reality of how their actions are affecting you on a personal level. Try your best to read the situation and your co-worker to discover which path would be the best one for you to take.

Refocus Your Attention

When you truly can’t stand someone, that thought generally takes up a lot of time and space in your mind, making it hard to concentrate on other things when you’re around them. But when you’re tasked with working on a project with this person, you’ve got to find a way to refocus your attention away from them and onto something more productive. Paul Michael, a contributor to WiseBread.com, suggests diving head-first into something that can help you channel that pent up anger and aggression in a more positive way, like accomplishing a goal you have for yourself or getting your joint project finished in record time.

If you have an upcoming work project that requires you to team up with someone you don’t like, use the tips mentioned above to hopefully make this time together a little more manageable.