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Making peace with difficult colleagues

Published on Thursday, 11 Aug 2011
Illustration: Bay Leung

Getting along If you find it hard to gel with some officemates, discuss the situation with them in a friendly manner. Feel free to express your opinion in a constructive way and give them a chance to air their views. Agree on how you can work together going forward. If this does not improve the situation, seek advice from a senior co-worker or manager who can guide you toward a positive solution.

Private meeting If there’s one particular colleague that makes your life difficult, try to arrange a private meeting with him or discuss it over coffee. The privacy will hopefully make him more open to you as to why he is giving you the cold shoulder or making your work unbearable. Your request to meet with him will show your sincerity and willingness to work things out.

Action plan To move forward, you must come up with an action plan. Track your progress through regular updates or emails. You can also assess your ability to work in a team through peer appraisals. You can outline your achievements and take note of what improvements are needed. This will help you be productive and inspire you to collaborate with them.

Third party advice If nothing seems to make your officemates warm up to you despite numerous attempts to win them over, seek further advice from another senior manager. He can facilitate a discussion between you and your officemates. He may also give you an objective opinion that will guide you both toward a resolution.

Jason Hemens, corporate communications manager, Michael Page International

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