Abhijit BhaduriGuest Author

How to Work with People You Do Not Like

By | Abhijit Bhaduri |Keynote speaker, Author and Columnist

One of the biggest problems of dealing with a diverse workplace is that we come across many people who are different from us. For some people that is an exciting thing to happen. For some of the people this can be deeply distressing because they have to know work with a lot of people they don’t like. On 23 December 2020, I got a chance to invite Professor Charles Dhanaraj and Prof George Kohlreiser to a live chat. Here are some key take aways from that chat


Prof Charles Dhanaraj, Univ of Denver

Prof Charles Dhanaraj has previously served at IMD Switzerland, Indiana University Kelley School of Business, Western University Ivey Business School (Canada) and Temasek Polytechnic (Singapore). He has also been a visiting Professor at the Copenhagen Business School (Denmark), Indian School of Business (India), Foundation Dom Cabral (Brazil) and Kellogg School of Management (U.S.A.).

He co-authored this article: The hidden perils of unresolved grief

George Kohlriese.jpg

Prof George Kohlreiser, IMD Lausanne

George Kohlrieser is an organizational and clinical psychologist. He is Distinguished Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour at IMD and consultant to several global companies. He is also a Police Psychologist and Hostage Negotiator focusing on aggression management and hostage negotiations. He has worked in over 100 countries spanning five continents.

Read more about him here

“Human beings are feeling beings. We happen to think.”
Before people bond with you, they will want to know you are dependable and predictable; calmness contributes to those perceptions, and agitation and stress send the opposite message. Staying calm is also critically important in providing opportunities for risk taking. Your calmness helps the other person stay calm in the face of challenge. If you bring further emotion and fear to a situation that is already full of emotion and fear, you only make things worse. 

Globalisation 4.0 – did the pandemic start this

Charles Dhanaraj is an expert in globalisation and strategy. One of the questions we explored was if the pandemic meant the end of globalisation as countries closed borders and turned inward. There is nationalism taking over and fanning all our tribalistic tendencies. Tribal views create alienation. “We are world citizens,” says George. There is the danger of too many leaders who are keen to prove that they are citizens of one country. We have to look at globalisation not just in tangible terms like movement of goods and services but of intangible factors like ideas. Digital is changing the whole world. Globalisation 4.0 should be globalisation with a human face.

During a crisis, good leadership brings people together. Poor leadership uses the opportunity to create divisions and over-protect. The brain needs psychological safety. For some people globalisation can signal a threat not an opportunity. Managing emotions becomes one of the key differentiators between successful and ineffective leadership.

“Emotions drive decisions. Behavioral Economics has already proved it.”

The centrality of emotions

Prof Charles Dhanaraj talked about the importance of emotions. Working with people is all about working with emotions. Teaching is not just about conveying content. It is about building a relationship with the students FIRST before the professor can teach. Understanding this was a "transformative experience" as a teacher, says Charles. Strategy needs to be sold to the team members. that means understanding emotions.

Emotional intelligence is typically broken down into four core competencies:

  1. Self-awareness

  2. Self-management

  3. Social awareness

  4. Relationship management

Think Like a Hostage Negotiator

Prof Kohlrieser worked as a hostage negotiator. He was held hostage 4 times himself.

Have you talked your way out of a speeding ticket?

When some one holds a gun to your head, you have to be incredibly calm and still engage and bond with the person. I was curious to know if Gorge could use his way with words to talk himself out of a parking ticket or a speeding ticket. here’s is what he shared.

The fundamental reason leaders fail – they don’t connect well

Collaboration is the new model of leadership. That necessarily means working with people you do not agree with.
Happy people do not take hostages.

We can sometimes become hostage to the situations – eg The pandemic has created a feeling of doom and gloom in some. But we can choose to stay positive and optimistic. Staying calm can save lives. While flying a plane, when the pilot has to make an emergency landing, being able to stay calm can be the difference between life and death for hundreds of passengers.

This is a Sketchnote of some key ideas I jotted down during the chat. But don’t miss this terrific conversation.

This is a Sketchnote of some key ideas I jotted down during the chat. But don’t miss this terrific conversation.

This video got thousands of views. You know why it connected to so many people.

I write a weekly newsletter for LinkedIn. In 4 weeks it has crossed 150,000 subscribers. <to subscribe free click here>

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