5 Tips for Leading People You Don't Get Along With

Heneka Watkis-Porter

11 August 2019

It is a fact that some people are easier to get along with than others. And as leaders, there is no getting around the reality that we will be charged with supervising, nurturing and guiding people who fall within the “hard to get along with” category. You may see these people as a “pain in the neck” for whom you must utilize much energy and vital brain cells just for a mere interaction. 

Perhaps you are silently thinking, “How do I get around dealing with these people?” The truth is, there is no avoiding this. We all come from different backgrounds that make us uniquely us, which means we will not and cannot get along with everyone.

In order to maintain your sanity, the trick is to pick your battles carefully and to always maintain a level of professionalism in every situation. Do everything possible to navigate the situation and live peaceably with everyone insomuch as it is in your control.

To help in this process, here are five tips to help you lead people you don’t necessarily want to break bread with.

1. Understand there are others who feel the same way about you. 

When we take a reality check and recognize that we aren’t perfect in the eyes of those we lead either, it levels us into being more intentional and sympathetic to their way of being. This equilibrium of sorts causes us to recognize that we too need grace and, therefore, should give it freely.

2. Be aware of your emotions.

The worst thing that can ever happen to you as a leader is to allow others to control the way you feel. Own your power and take control of your emotions. There are many challenges that self-awareness can fix. First in the process is to be aware of how you feel. Once you’ve detected your feelings, let them vaporize into thin air rather than allow them to negatively affect your relationships.

3. Avoid taking things personally.

At any given moment, every one of us as humans is faced with a myriad of circumstances that affect us in one way or another… emotionally, intellectually, spiritually and just about every way possible. The people you lead are no exception. Their idiosyncrasies that seemingly rub you the wrong way can be magnified by their own personal issues and struggles. When those you lead act in ways that are contrary to your expectations, it will serve you best not to take their behaviors personally. 

4. Practice empathy.

Many woes with others are caused by us being too wrapped up in our own emotions and our sense of self. When you are able to share and understand the feelings of others, it gives you the patience to be able to better manage the person you find difficult to work with. Empathy helps build rapport quickly, creating the ability to understand much deeper. Compassion will always trump misunderstandings.

5. Be tactful.

There are times when we need to address a situation head-on. This must always be done tactfully. As a leader, you must put your feelings aside and remain calm, sensitive and professional at all times. Here is something to consider: How will your response be assessed in 10 minutes, 10 months or 10 years from now? Will it matter? Will it leave a bitter taste in your mouth? If it won’t matter 10 months or 10 years from now, consider ignoring it for the good of all involved.

Remember, it takes years to develop a solid character as a leader. Don’t allow your emotions to rob you of your hard work. How do you deal with people that you don’t get along with? Tell us on Twitter using #LeadercastChallenge

Heneka Watkis-Porter

Heneka Watkis-Porter is an entrepreneur, author, speaker and host of The Entrepreneurial You podcast. She is founder and CEO of Patwa Culcha International, which owns the authentic Jamaica clothing brand, Patwa Apparel. Heneka is also the creator of the Caribbean’s first virtual conference and expo: The Entrepreneurial You Virtual SME Conference & Expo and Host Site leader for Leadercast Women.

Subscribe to our Blog