Do I have to like them?

You aren’t always going to like everyone you work with. I’ve known this for a while. This truth goes against a deeply engrained belief I have that the opposite should be true. But the fact is, we just don’t. So how can you still hum along in your work environment when you’re distracted by these ‘others’ who just seem to be planted there to get in the way of your fully aligned career bliss?

My daughter, who started primary this year, has already run up against this conundrum. She has to play with children she doesn’t necessarily want to play with. The first couple of weeks were the hardest. She really didn’t want to be paired with children she didn’t know. But through her very dramatic rants (usually just before bedtime), what I was really hearing was not that she didn’t like her classmates, but more that she didn’t yet know them.

I had to wonder if the same is true in our business environments. Is it really true that we don’t like someone, or is it that we don’t know enough about that person to truly understand them and/or their perspectives?

For my daughter, not getting along and cooperating with her peers in primary is simply not an option. So together, we took her class list and created a poster with all of their names on it and placed it on our fridge. Every day she tries to pick out a name and remember something she liked about what they did that day. She can draw a picture or I help her add an adjective like ‘funny laugh’ or ‘shared a toy’. I was thrilled the other evening when she came running into the kitchen because she remembered something good to write about someone new. Since we started this exercise I’ve heard much more talk about what she likes about playing with her new friends and almost zero about what she doesn’t. Now she’s looking for things to like about her classmates.

So do you have to like everyone you work with? No, but you do need to figure out how to get along! And if it’s an important relationship you could try our ‘find something you like’ exercise. You may be pleasantly surprised.

The first step in my career advancement program and book called NAIL IT!® is about Naming what you really want in your career. To download a free handout, click here.

Karen Kelloway is available for both individual and group coaching.  Click here for a free consultation on how she can help you create more success and enjoyment in your career.

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