How to handle haters at work?

By Ganpy

How to handle co-workers who don’t like you or make it difficult to work with?

The topic of this blog post is sort of ‘on your face’. In other words, it doesn’t try to sugar coat the gist of what it wants to say and that’s the idea.

Often, you have supreme confidence on yourself and your own likability. You think everyone should like you and you easily dismiss the idea of anyone finding it difficult to work with you. Because you are that good. You pride yourself of the fact that you rarely or never have conflicts at work.

And then one day everything changes. You have a new co-worker. He or She is assigned an adjacent cubicle. And for some inexplicable reason, he/she just seems to absolutely detest you. He/She doesn’t hold punches when it comes to refuting or counterattacking your point of view in a meeting, or doesn’t hide his/her contempt when you present a new idea, etc. This colleague avoids you at all costs and you get the feeling that he/she may even be hatching a plan to work against you behind your back to get you out of there.

As far as you know, you haven’t done anything in particular that would have irked this colleague. You have no inkling as to why this colleague may be on what seems like a personal mission to go after you. Why does he/she hate you?

And more importantly, how can you make him/her your friend?
Can you?
Should you?
The answer is never simple, and it depends on many factors.

Yes, it’s human nature to want to be liked by all, to be precise, well-liked by all. A work environment where everybody gets along perfectly well with everybody else is an utopian office. Doesn’t exist. So, more often than not, learning to work effectively with colleagues, even when they aren’t your thickest fans or friends is crucial to productivity and overall success.

When you are in a hostile work situation like above, here are some tips/steps that you can incorporate in your day to day working mode, to see if they help make a difference. They are not necessarily an exhaustive list. But some sort of a guide.

Taking a Step Back

When you find out that someone in your office doesn’t like you, your first inclination might be to obsess over your relationship until you get some answers. What does he or she have against you? Did you do something offensive?

But, as tempting as that analysis might be, it’s best if you step back and take a deep breath rather than immediately springing into action. Remember, nobody can or will blame you for wanting to make sense of the situation. It’s also important to understand that people’s feelings aren’t always logical. If they are, then most conflicts of the world can be resolved logically, to create an ideal world. Can’t they be? So, remember that the reasoning behind this colleague’s negative vibes for you just may never make sense. It’s alright.

Accepting the Fact that There is Someone Who doesn’t Like You

It would of course be great to know that everyone liked you, forever. But that’s not realistic. Think of a most popular person from your local history or world history or from your contemporary crop of icons/heroes/people whom you respect. If you read their life stories, remember, you will realize that they all had their fair share of negativity and criticism lodged against them.

So the best thing you can do for your own sanity and professionalism is to just accept that this person will never be part of your best friends circle and won’t be starting up a fan club in your honor. It’s your responsibility to find ways to collaborate together on day to day work related tasks, without arguments and unnecessary and uncomfortable tension. On top of this, there is really no compulsion for the two of you to be friends outside the office.

The quicker you can come to terms with your co-worker’s dislike, the better off you’ll be. At the end of the day, your goal is your productivity and not earning his liking.

Deciding Your Behavior and Course of Actions

This is the most important phase. That’s to decide whether or not your office situation, aka the tension between the two of you requires further action. Is it something you need to talk over one on one? Or is it better left alone?

Figuring out what types of your colleague’s dislike behavior towards you should make you let go vs which warrants confrontation is tricky. If the dislike behavior includes simple acts like shrugs, making faces, smirks, etc., then may be letting go is not a bad option, because sometimes confronting a colleague could actually make it worse.

On the other hand, if your colleague’s behavior towards is you directly affecting your work, then you might need to take action, that is to speak with him/her in order to clear the air. Try to break the ice by having some simple conversations.

“Hey, xyz! I have been noticing that there is some negative tension between us and I want to understand if any of what I am doing is bothering you. I want to make sure we work together well for this project. Just let me know please..”

It is very much possible that what you are doing (unconsciously and without any harmful intent) may be bothering the colleague. If that’s the case, then clearing the air always helps.

In some cases, your one on one conversations or your attempts to let go off may not be enough. In those situations, you need to talk to your manager about this. Once you bring this to the attention of your manager, then effectively the ball has moved off your court to your manager’s court.

A couple of things to remember as you work through your workplace situation and come up with a plan:

1) You can’t control other’s feelings or actions, but you can control how you react to them. If possible, take the high road and always treat your colleague with respect and integrity. It’s not easy to do so. But if you can, it is a better option.
2) In an ideal world, everyone would adore you and jump with excitement at the prospect of working with you. That unfortunately is not always the case.

It’s unavoidable that there are times in all our careers that we get to work with people who would rather avoid working with us. So, it’s important that we all learn how to handle and cope with such situations, as the real goal for all, including the colleague who doesn’t want to work with you, is really to complete the task in hand successfully.

May be you can put these tips above into action, when you encounter a hostile work environment and focus on getting your work done.

Note: Please read ‘The Benjamin Franklin Effect’, a very interesting and surprising psychology to handle haters (not just workplace, but in general).

Collaboration through Huts

Ever been lost while were trying to look for a report from one of your past meetings? What if there is a streamlined manner in which you could store all project related communication and documents in a single space? Wouldn’t this make your life much easier? Welcome to Cabaana Huts.

By Victor Ruiz

Bora Bora (French Polynesia) at night. Not a bad place to be at this time of the year, isn’t it?
Bora Bora (French Polynesia) at night. Not a bad place to be at this time of the year, isn’t it?

Let me begin by sharing an anecdote. After a year of internship at a major Spanish shipping company, a friend of mine was officially given an offer to become an employee. For the first few months, his work was not very different from what he did as an intern. It involved mechanical inventory tasks, some report creation tasks, and most importantly it entailed the all critical function of serving coffee to his superiors.

However, his patience and dedication for a few months ensured that his first real opportunity to ‘shine’ at work finally arrived. Delighted with his work till then, his boss entrusted him with the preparation of a document related to a Japanese group which was interested in investing in the company. Although the boss had assigned a few other people to help him out, my friend was the leader. It was not necessarily a task of the highest importance, but my friend rightfully realized that this was an opportunity that came his way as a sign of his boss’s confidence in him.

It took several weeks for him and his team to put together this document, but they actually got it done two full days ahead of the planned meeting with the Japanese investors. He received congratulations from his boss and from a few other important leaders in the company. His boss hadn’t planned on having my friend attend the actual meeting, but after reading the document, the boss decided that he was the best person to explain some of the document’s key points.

The big day had finally come and my friend had everything under control. In a kind of pre-business ritual, he put on his lucky suit. Well, his only suit to be honest, carried his lucky fountain pen, splashed on generous amount of his lucky perfume, and of course was getting ready to print the document to distribute to his audience, which was on… Wait…A…Moment…

Where was the document?

He was 100% sure that he had saved it on a specific folder that he created for this purpose, but as a result of a tragic and apparently impossible-to-explain computer failure, the document was not where he was expecting it to be. My friend panicked and called his colleagues & team mates asking for the document. They couldn’t find it either. They all believed that it was his responsibility to ensure the safety of the document.

In the eyes of everyone in the whole company, it was clear. This was his FAULT.

Don’t worry!! My friend could eventually locate the document and it all ended well. More importantly, he still has his job at the same company. But it was a very embarrassing moment for him. The only consequence of that slight mishap was that there was a considerable delay in the meeting, which inevitably resulted in he being taken to his boss’s room for a good sound-off.

What I really learnt from his story was that the lack of streamlining & organization of information and loose collaboration among the employees were the two main factors that caused the embarrassment, and that it is crucial for companies to have appropriate tools to guarantee the same.

That brings me to the next point. What about you and how is this in your company?

Have you ever been frustrated when you had to find a document buried under several layers and several folders when you need it urgently?

This is where Cabaana could make a huge difference in the life of everyday teams, trying to focus on overall efficiency.

Cabaana provides a single space for all your project related communication and collaboration. This space is called ‘Huts’.

Huts are nothing but the hub of all team collaborations. You can organize your team’s collaboration activities either through private or public huts, use “threads” to filter specific topics of discussion that are being worked on, and/or share files and other data within Huts. You can also search for information in those threads inside the huts (they can be deleted when obsolete). In addition, Huts can be used for activities in which not all the team is involved.

In short, Use Huts to get work done.

Huts is a tool designed for knowledge sharing and project management. A Hut is a well-organized and streamlined document storage space for documents that may have to be accessed several times or that are vital for both the team and the company.

Huts are similar to Forums that contain threads for their respective topics. Threads are the starting points for communication on specific topis and knowledge sharing. Hut members can comment, ask questions and answer others’ questions. In addition, members have the capability to upload files that they consider appropriate.

Cabaana provides both Public and Private huts, the latter being only accessible by those users who have been invited by the hut owner (that is, the creator of that hut). Public huts, on the other hand are visible to all users, who can join or leave whenever they want.

Huts don’t need to be for work purposes alone. Users can create huts to share jokes, hobbies, sports, memes, anecdotes, etc.

As a secondary level of categorization of threads, users can use tags. This enables the search mechanism to work even better.

As you can see from the above, through this feature called Huts, Cabaana provides a productive collaboration space with streamlined information, making “lost information” a poor excuse.

This series on Cabaana Features is almost at its end, but I am not done unveiling all the features as yet.

So, Stay Tuned!