By John Worne

There is no better advice for any Specialist-Generalist than choosing to be kind…

Whatever the provocation, you reap what you sow; whenever you shove someone they’ll always shove you back – usually harder.

HBR can be a bit schmaltzy at times, but there’s something in re-wiring your head and ‘leaning in’ with positive intent. At worst it might neutralise a bad reaction, at best it can rebuild and transform work relationships.


Choose to Be Kind to Someone Who Annoys You

When someone you work with annoys you all the time, chances are you assume the worst about them — and that mindset shows up in your behavior. But it’s important to be civil, and even compassionate, to colleagues, both because so much work is collaborative and because that coworker probably isn’t annoying you on purpose.

Try to short-circuit your reactions toward them by making yourself do or say something nice. For example, you could compliment them on an idea they raised in a meeting, or offer to help out with a project. Or say your colleague arrives late — yet again — to the weekly team standup. Don’t complain or roll your eyes, and don’t be passive-aggressive with a comment like, “Nice of you to join us.” (That may be your instinct, but fight it.) Instead, say something like, “Welcome. Grab a cup of coffee and we’ll get you up to speed.”

This type of generosity of spirit is good for you and your colleague.

Adapted from “How to Develop Empathy for Someone Who Annoys You,” by Rebecca Knight

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