Like oil and water, some personalities simply do not mix. While you may wish that you could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat it and be happy, you might have an office adversary that is refusing to take a bite. Don’t worry about it. Personality clashes in the workplace are inevitable. Here are a few guidelines to help you navigate your way through office conflicts.
Read the Signs
While we hardly doubt your workplace foe is going to show up on day one, wearing a shirt that says “Does Not Play Well With Others,” there are a few other signs to look out for. Has this certain someone forgotten to CC you on important office emails, made jokes at your expense, or failed to cooperate with you on shared projects? If so, there is probably more to it than a simple misunderstanding or mental lapse. Coming to terms with the fact that someone likely has an issue with you gives you the ability to work towards rectifying the situation.
Personal vs Professional
While having a close-knit, 2-for-1 Happy Hour margarita relationship with all of your coworkers is fun, it’s not always realistic. Learn to separate the personal from the professional when it comes to disagreements in the workplace. Make sure that you are not responding from a personal place and that you never allow your personal feelings towards someone to be known in your professional relationship with them. You are not going to be best friends with everyone, but you should be able to effectively and professionally work with anyone. This is one of the harder skills to master, but becoming a master of your emotions in the workplace allows you to complete great work, while letting any negativity or turmoil to slide off your back.
Be Kind, Not Weak
Al Capone said it best: “Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.” You are a strong, hard-working boss lady! Do not allow yourself to be kicked around in the workplace out of fear of ruffling feathers. While you should never start an altercation with a coworker, if someone is treating you poorly, you should also not sit in silence and take it. Confront the individual directly, off the clock, only with the professional issue you may have. Firmly stand up for yourself, explain why their behavior is negatively affecting your work, and offer a solution to the issue.
If all else fails, rise above it. Being the bigger person may feel exhausting at times, but stooping to a petty level in the workplace will only damage yourself. You can only control your actions and your words, so make sure both of them align with your best self. After all, you are a professional and no office bully has the power to get under your skin if you don’t let them.