September 03, 2013, 10:51 AM — It's something you may have heard - or uttered - when a relationship sputtered to its end: "It's not you, it's me."
And while that old chestnut tends to be an easy, if not always entirely truthful, ripcord on a personal level, it may actually be accurate professionally.
Harvard Business Review editor Amy Gallo recently asked experts for advice on managing people you don’t like. Included in the story (well worth a read) was a suggestion you can apply office-wide to colleagues, management and, yes, direct reports:
Instead of focusing on why you dislike someone, determine why you're responding negatively.
"They didn't create the button, they're just pushing it," Ben Dattner, an organizational psychologist, told HBR. "You don't have to go into therapy to figure it out, but be honest with yourself about what situations or attributes make you most irritated."
Dattner suggested three questions that may shed some light on your opinion:
- Is the problem the individual or someone they remind me of?
- Am I afraid of being like this person?
- Are they a member of a group that I have issue with?
Answering these questions truthfully may change your perception of how you think of - and, therefore, work with - this person.
"Remember: it's far easier to change your perspective than to ask someone to be a different kind of person," Gallo notes.