While you should love everyone on your staff, it’s okay if you like some people more. In fact, its important for you to realize that you will eventually dislike a staff member. I am not talking about someone who is downright toxic to your culture–those people should be removed from your organization. I am speaking of someone who adds value to your work and team but there’s something about their personality that rubs you the wrong way.
When push comes to shove, you are a leader and you are going to have make some adjustments so that your team can continue to function at a high level.
Here are six ways you can lead staff members you don’t like.
1. Identify your problem
If their performance is satisfactory, you owe it to yourself and to them to take a good hard look at what it is that you find so irritating. Are they too negative, too obsessed with a hobby, or they are too aggressive? Is it something superficial? While you can’t change a staff member’s personality, mannerisms, or modus operandi you can choose to change your attitude and how you interact with them. If you don’t, it is only a matter of time before it becomes apparent to them or the rest of your team.
2. You don’t have to be personal friends with all of your staff
There is a natural expectation of separation between work life and personal life in the business world, but the lines are much more fuzzy in the church. The smaller the staff, the fuzzier it gets. Be sure you manage expectations and establish healthy boundaries when bringing new people on board.
3. Be professional and courteous toward them
The key here is remembering to be professional, and to treat them how you would want to be treated. Take a genuine interest in them and margin time for them. Make a conscious effort to engage them in conversation about their life outside of the organization.
4. Knock out a big project shoulder-to-shoulder
It’s easier to dislike someone you’ve never worked hard side-by-side with to achieve something great. Taking on something particularly difficult together can have an even greater effect. This is much more risky, however, as pressure may also further exacerbate the problem.
5. Don’t make them an inside joke
If this person has a quirk, mannerism, habit, etc. that is bothersome or downright annoying, do not share it with other employees. Just because it’s funny doesn’t mean you have to share it. It is not funny and will ultimately undermine your leadership with your team. If you have a team like mine, there are no holds barred and everyone and everything is fair game… but that’s another post.
6. Focus on their value to the team
At the end of the day, you have obviously already decided that this employee is worth keeping on the team, so focus on what makes them so valuable.