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3 tips on effectively managing staff you dislike

Posted on 18/08/2017 by Tracey George MIRP

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You often hear about employees not liking their manager or another team member, but what about direct reports? Are you managing someone that you dislike? Is it performance based or a personal clash? As a manager you have to ensure you are treating them fairly within your team, but this can be difficult when you dislike someone, so this month we have put together 3 tips on effectively managing staff you dislike.

Focus on the core of the problem

It can be hard when you work closely with someone you don’t get along with, but ignoring it will make the problem worse. Ask yourself some questions, have they not achieved a work task required of them? Is it their general attitude, eg a negative person? Do they remind you of someone you dislike?

Remember you need to act as a leader and the onus is on you to remain fair, composed and impartial, you don’t need to like everyone, but you do need to put on your best poker face when dealing with them. Everyone wants to be liked, so focus on their good points, what do they do well?

It isn’t always a bad thing to have a differing outlook and view as everyone on your team, it can be crucial to help a team succeed, however when the issue becomes personal it needs to be addressed.

Spend time with them

It may be the last thing you want to do, but getting to know them individually can help you manage them effectively.  If possible do this outside of the office such as a lunch and find out what their hobbies and interests are.

By getting to know them and finding common ground it may help you understand them and find better ways to manage them effectively. You may also understand their reasons for their behaviour, perhaps what you previously thought was a rude attitude was because they are shy.

Make changes

Once you have got to the core of the problem and spent time with them, make changes to improve your working conditions. If you find the issues are work-related factors, then they can be addressed professionally, such as through training or mentoring. 

Lastly ensure this individual is not treated differently or unfairly to team members and that any changes are made with the whole team in mind.

TPP will provide you with employees that not only have your required skill set for the role, but will recruit to fit your organisation’s culture. We meet with all candidates prior to submitting them to ensure they have the skills and right values and attitude for your organisation and team. If you are looking for recruitment advice contact us on 020 7198 6000 or

You can view further recruitment advice on managing staff on our website, including:

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Why is positive reinforcement so important in the workplace?