How to Manage Someone You Dislike

July 12, 2017 Brian Beattie

In any leadership position, you will have to deal with and manage people that you may not particularly like. You won't click with everyone, and that's ok! It's great to have team members that you connect with on a personal and professional level, but it's unhealthy for a team to be comprised solely of people you consider friends. So how do you go about managing those who might rub you the wrong way? Read further to find out.

1. Figure Out What's Bothering You

What is it that's causing you to dislike this person? Do they remind you of someone? Is it the way they communicate? Or some other personal bias? Drilling down and finding the pressure points will help you to realize what's really bothering you, and then you can adjust your behaviour accordingly. 

Don't fault your employees for your preconceived biases - it's easier for you to change your attitude than for someone to change their personality.

2. Stay Cordial

Every employee wants their manager to like them, so your direct reports are in tune with how you react to them. If you show any dispproval, employees will think that is has to do with their performance and not some other cause. Instead, continue to acknowledge good work and give constructive criticism when necessary. It might take some effort on your part, but make sure that you remain fair and friendly.

3. Spend Time with Them

This might seem like the last thing you want to do, but working with the individual you are having trouble liking, will help you to see their viewpoint while working through your own issues. Robert Sutton, a professor of managerial science and engineering at Stanford, advises that collaboration helps to develop affinity and that over time you may come to appreciate the employee.

4. Look for the Positives

You hired this person for a reason and if they weren't performing to your standards, they wouldn't still be working with you. So make it a point to reflect on the positives of this person and how they help to better your team. This way you can see if they need a larger workload, some tasks taken off their plate, or if they can be put in a position that would better suit their skills.

5. Be Neutral During Reviews

It is extremely important that whatever issue you have with an employee does not get in the way of giving them a fair review. Ensure that you apply the same standards that you use for everyone else. If you can't seem to stay impartial, ask another manager who is familiar with the employee's work to weigh in on their performance.


Working with people you don't necessarily like is not a bad thing. Often liking people too much is more of a hindrance than liking them too little. Having different viewpoints helps make a team healthy, propels new insights, and keeps work from getting stagnant. As well, those you might have trouble liking are often those who help stop the team or organization from making bad decisions. So embrace having a team of diverse individuals, even if it may take a little patience.

About the Author

Brian Beattie

Brian Beattie is the Chief Financial Officer at Volaris Group. Besides overseeing the financial health of the company, he works closely with Volaris’ legal and M&A team on all new acquisitions. Brian is an expert on every stage of the M&A process – from sending out the non-disclosure agreement to executing the sales purchase agreement.

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