There are three things that make a good employee:

1.    The ability to get along with others 

2.    The ability to get the job done (competency)

3.    The ability to be timely.  

These are the three things that can make an organization run smoothly.  If one of these is not working, the customers eventually feel it.   The ability to get along with others is extremely important.  We all have experienced having to be in front of employees who are unhappy or even fighting with one another.  You can feel the hostility.  One of the most important anchors of a team is that they get along with one another.  Getting along with other members should be on every job description and evaluated for any raises and promotions.


There are four things that help when working with someone that you don't get along with.


1.    If they say something that you don't like, back off and respond in a neutral way. Feeding into them only makes it worse.  This is easier said then done but practice in front of a mirror responding to their remarks.

2.    If you know they are going criticize you when you help with something. Practice that in your mind by saying the worse case scenario over and over and then practice reacting differently.

3.    Avoid feeding into others negative talking about the person.  Never talk to them in your mind, except to forgive them for not being what you wanted them to be or say to you.  I have often taken a person home with me in my mind and carried on conversations with them even when they are not there.  Now I only talk to myself! J

4.    When you are not annoyed at them, your blood pressure does not go up when you say their name, go for talking to them if you feel it is necessary.  Remember you can not change others only your reaction to them.  That however, forces them to react differently.  




Very timely. The holidays can bring out the worst of our anxieties, fears and other emotional bogeymen, especially if we're unemployed. It helps to be  aware of and alert to our own triggers,  those little buggers that make  us to respond poorly to others' anger ,frustration and fear. It's not "them" (the client) it's  both of "us" interacting ; it takes 2 to tango Thanks, Aram


When I become angry I try to assess what I ultimately want from the situation.  If there is something of value I do this:

1. Keep my opinions to myself (I don't have an emotional outburst if I can help it)

2. Listen to the other person, even if I don't agree with them (they are entitled to their opinion)

3. Take time out to re-evaluate my position (I may decide to change my opinion in the matter)

4. Re-address the matter with the other party and try to find a way to compromise.

Brenda in St. Charles , MO

"Life isn't like a box of's more like a jar of jalapenos.
What you do today, might burn your ass tomorrow." RG OR


I received the following through an email, but do not know the author. I thought it relates to what we received from you. It is as follows: The Gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trails.  Thanks again, E


Actually this I must admit is going on for me right now.  One of our team members (10 years with the agency) doesn't seem to be pulling their load and certainly isn't here for 40 hours a week (salary).  My supervisor said, "If the other person's behavior changes the work that you have to do from day to day because of their lack of work ethic, then you have a reason to complain...otherwise, there really isn't anything that you can do about it." Because I can see his point (in some ways) thing that I try to do is write.  For instance, if I am in a meeting and things are getting heated and I know I want to spew off at the mouth...instead of getting angry and saying something I shouldn't, I will write my thoughts down, try to think about what I might want to say, and if it is worth saying, or I can put a positive spin on it, I will.  If it is negative, I try not to say it at all.  Another thing that I have been trying to do is avoid talking about the person that I am having difficulty with...many people talk negatively about our coworker and I often either don't put in my perspective, change the subject or remove myself from the conversation.  It is very hard to get caught up in the negativity, but if you are going to be a working team, it's just not appropriate.  One more thing that I have tried, is volunteering to do projects with this person.  Although I find it really difficult because we have a really different style, I do this so perhaps I can see things from her perspective...and maybe it will shed some light on things that are going on.    Maine


I love this and it does help. Today wasn't going so well and when I
read this e-mail I did feel much better. Keep these messages coming.
Thank you so much. JB


Everyone "needs" to feel like they have "power" over their responsibilities. Those folks who are frustrated, and often "causing problems" are usually folks that do not have "power over" their positions or responsibility.

If you are a supervisor you need to delegate responsibility then help the folks thru their problems and mistakes.

Now....... working with folks and getting along. If you understand why a fellow employee is hard to get along with, it is usually easier to work with them and help them become team players. Some fellow employees have problem supervisors and they (the supervisors) of cause the stress that triggers the poor attitudes or performance.

So, there is a saying we used to use in ACE that says: To get along you need to be able to "go along". Bend with the breeze, don't fight it. Be supportive of you peers and you will find you will not have many problems when it comes to "getting along".  GW UT


My center is very unique.  One of the things I stress is team work.  We can't accomplish our goals unless we do it as a team and to work as a team, we must be able to get along.  I have a saying, "This is a bad attitude FREE workplace.  All bad attitudes must be left outside."  Sure there are disagreements at times but we work through them in order to accomplish our common goal.  The main thing is to communicate like adults, resolve our problems out of the hearing of our customers and go on about the business of running our center and serving our customers.  We don't have to like each but we must get along on the job.  I said earlier that my center is unique, that's because we really do like each other. JB


I just wanted to drop you a quick line and tell you how much I really appreciate the work that you put into these weekly emails.  They are extremely helpful and I often find little pieces that are wonderful to pass along to my staff and colleagues (as well as some of the client work that I do one-on-one).  Thanks again for your attention to details, and I look forward to attending another one of your great seminars.


Best wishes for a beautiful holiday season,


Claudia Gately


Getting along with others... I take myself mentally to a calm place and disassociate. That is I still listen and respond to their words but in a detached way. It has proven to be a good way to deal with high strung types. Of course it works best when I have time to prepare.  I still struggle with those "caught blindsided" times when things come up out of the blue, and I am less than calm.  I work on this a lot.  Planning to stay calm is always helpful.


LHS  Seattle , WA




Whether it is at work or in my personal life, I try to listen and reconfirm the communication from others, before I respond.

Being an active listener provides me an opportunity to really be engaged in the moment and be aware of what is being said and meant, before responding.

This method has served me well throughout my life and will work if one takes the time to just listen.

Have a wonderful day, Ruth



I totally agree with your ideas on how to handle someone you work with
and isn't very nice. As I'm sure you know every job has one :) I like
to be direct with people, not brutally but yet truthful and helpful
(constructive). I have a co-worker that annoys me to allllll heck. I
started to hide from her to go on breaks because she would bring alll
her complaints, problems to our breaks. I finally had to ask her to
please keep all her personal and business problems away from my breaks.
I told her I enjoy having other conversations with her and that I love to enjoy my breaks. I don't like to have any stress during my breaks. She understood and it has changed completely.....Also, we have a very negative co-worker. She is negative about 90% of everything, however we have 90% of the staff very most all of us have learned to ignore her comments, facial expressions, etc. And, there has been times when she has come to me for an opinion and I have given it to her. She thanks me for it, and feels that I am the most truthful person to her. I try not to be brutal, and I tell them this, and they are okay with it. For most the time, most all of us in the office get along
really well. Yes, there are the few that don't pull their weight, and irates others, but we do have supervisors that keep an eye on that, and get on the ball when necessary :) Thanks  LH


One of the things I try to keep in mind everywhere including work is "You can never do a kindness too soon, because you never know how soon it will be too late. " Being kind and fair are two key qualities to getting along with others even and especially when
there is stress. Many of us work in stressful situations which contribute
to problems of style and therefore, problems getting along with each other.
Recognizing the differences and circumstances we each face daily can help
us hold our tongues or at least use them wisely. if faced with insurmountable differences, pray for a peaceful resolution and be willing to give in to pride and selfishness. Thank you, everyone out there for bringing light into the world and reducing the stresses we all face daily. Aloha, Joy



Paul - I think this topic should be broken down into two very different
1) generally not getting along as in being a team player and not always
having to have your way, and not criticizing others just because their
methods, personality or appearance don't meet your standards, and
2) not getting along because someone is incompetent and actually damaging
to your customers and work unit, and you can't turn a blind eye. This
person is usually stubborn and self-centered, but often very personable and
likeable. They feel their way is better than the agency way. I have found
that both situations arise frequently.
It is extremely important to get along in situation 1), and this type of
"getting along" should be required. But it is equally important NOT to get
along in situation 2). Of course going to your supervisor is the best way
to handle situation 2) co-workers. But there are situations when you are
justified in directly confronting the co-worker, for instance when you hear
a client being mistreated or being given false information, and no
supervisor is around. Just make sure YOU are doing your job to the best of
your ability before you start complaining about others!  JG IA




I try to respect their "personal space" sometimes it is the best thing
to do. People do appreciate this consideration. Carman O


On the issue of getting along with co-workers. That is a rare problem for me. We have a great team here. Sure there are some personally clashes, but for the most part we are one big happy family. I have had situations where we don't always agree, and those unit meetings can get a little heated. We all go to mutual corners, converse with our allies, and by the next meeting we are civil to each other. Sometimes getting things off your chest can help, as long we can all be adult about it.

We all work in close proximity to each other, so it forces us to get along. Why waste time and energy on disliking someone, or holding a grudge. Life is too short, and I would rather be happy.




In getting along with others it helps to believe that no co worker ( or relative, friend, spouse, etc.) would intentionally do or say something to hurt your feelings or belittle you. If you work from that premise, and then you DO get your feelings hurt or feel belittled, you can just chalk it up to that person having had a bad day, or that they have something major going on that is causing them to lose focus. Refusing to harbor anger or ill feelings toward another person just frees you up to direct your thoughts toward the most pressing needs of the day. Of course, there is that occasional person, who is bitter or jealous, and that is their constant demeanor. I just choose not to spend much time with that person.


I normally use the empathetic approach when dealing with others. First, when a conversation is initiated there is a story associated with this encounter.
When you determine where the person is headed.........then you asses and
determine ...what next. Wellllllll, once you have a foggy idea of the real picture then proceed.
This works real good when dealing with an adversary as well as a
friend, family, etc. I know for a fact that when you put yourself on the other side of the desk, you see the other persons view better. So be it  Just some food for thought.


One thing that helps me is to revise my expectations. No matter how good I think my idea is, there are some co-workers who will not respond favorably and usually will openly oppose my suggestions. Fortunately for me, there are others who are more supportive. I try to prepare myself for the nay-sayers by telling myself to expect no reaction or a negative reaction. Recently, I was extremely surprised when these workers actually thanked me for my comments on a document they were working on. It is much better to be surprised by positive feedback than to be disappointed when you don't get the kind of feedback you expected.



I agree that not giving the person the response that they want when they say something that you either disagree with or you find offensive is the best way to promote good work relations.  I've also found that a little humility goes a long way towards helping me get along with others in the workplace.  If you feel that a particular situation must be addressed, approaching it with humility often times lowers their defenses.  I will usually start off the conversation by acknowledging my own weaknesses or faults.  My experience has been that this then opens the door for some healthy dialogue.     Deb/Orlando FL