DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a contentious relationship with the other most senior leader in my company. I know that the two of us need to get along in order for us to have harmony at work, but something about this guy rubs me the wrong way. His tone is abrasive. He is way too playful, and his timing is terrible. I am sensitive and somewhat serious. I like to focus on the work, and he likes to crack jokes. It’s almost like he’s stuck in high school or at the frat party. I know that I have to figure out a way to work with him because management likes him. It’s not working so well right now. -- Cringeworthy
DEAR CRINGEWORTHY: Decide that you can and will find a way to connect with this fellow leader. Talk directly with him about your different work styles, and admit that sometimes it is hard for you to get into a rhythm with him when he’s constantly joking around. Ask him if you two can establish regular meetings where you talk strategy for work. Request that you both allocate time together to discover a comfortable way to do your work and present a united front to the team. Then, whenever you do meet with him, approach the moment with a positive attitude.
Think about this person. What are his attributes? Why do you think he was hired for this job? What value does he bring to your company? What is good about him? I was taught to look at people and “See God in each other.” Apply that loving gaze to this man, and begin to notice ways to engage with him productively.