How to Work with People You Dislike

How do you get individual people to work effectively as a team? While teamwork is a tricky topic for managers and team members alike, it is possible to create teamwork — even among workers who don’t like one another very much. First, we have to realize that humans are hardwired to be independent. As a result, we often have to deal with individuals’ “What’s in it for me” attitude.

Once you effectively break down this attitude, you can begin to build a team of people to work and collaborate together. In my video, Facts About barb - teamwork cropTeamwork, I discuss four tips that can turn around your team from working as independent workers to collaborating as members of a highly productive team. These tips will ensure that your team achieves — and maintains — high morale, thus staying productive, effective, and efficient — while working together and respecting one another.

Strategies that Turn It Around!

  1. Focus on results. To ensure positive results, your team should first create a mission statement that aligns with the company’s overall vision. By allowing your team to create its mission statement, members automatically create and perceive value in the process and final results of what they draft. This also helps to create accountability for tasks and goals, thus increasing morale and productivity.
  2. Team recognition. Recognizing your team’s efforts is crucial to sustaining team performance. And when you recognize and reward your entire team in social settings — a group dinner, picnic, night of bowling, etc. — team members will see one another in a different and more positive way. Invite your team to your house for a bar-b-que, or take them to the beach for a volleyball game, or even on a team-building game of paintball. If you have team members who hate each other, put them on the same team. When team members work together, they learn to watch out for each other. What a concept, huh?
  3. Individual recognition. It is also important to recognize individual members of your team, especially when their efforts align closely with the company’s mission and vision. Team members who are happy about individual accomplishments are more eager to work with others.
  4. Be nice to each other. It’s not essential that all team members agree about everything. It’s okay to disagree. However, it’s important that team members be nice and kind to one another. Everyone should treat one another with respect. So reinforce this concept throughout the year.

Remember: By nature, people are hard-wired to be individualistic. It is only through social conventions like a group dinner or a competitive game of volleyball that people can begin to see others in a different light — not as impediments to personal goals, but as other human beings who deserve kindness and respect.

What techniques have you tried in the past to help build teamwork? Please share your experiences in the Comments section below. I look forward to engaging with you and your comments.

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