You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

The Importance of Getting Along With Others Not much has changed from childhood playgrounds to the professional workplace.

By Ivan Misner

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Tom Werner | Getty Images

When I was very young, my mother gave me a paperweight that said, "Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way." She went on to say, "Honey, I love you but you are a bull in a china shop; you just run people over. You have to learn how to work with people." This advice was a major influence on me for the rest of my life.

Think back to your elementary school report card and how it graded you on your ability to play well with others. Well, things haven't changed. I believe your success in business, and particularly your success at networking, means that you need to learn how to collaborate -- or in other words, play well with others.

You can't always choose who comes to the playground, and you won't always get a say in who you're working with. You don't have be friends with everybody. You don't even have to like everybody. It's also important to recognize that different personalities add different perspectives and that, when managed well, can actually make a group more productive.

Read This: Networking Like a Pro | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | IndieBound

As I broke down while being interviewed in a recent episode of the BNI Podcast, don't let other people control your actions. This begins with some tolerance, a frequently invoked word that's under-used in practice. Let's discuss a hypothetical Mr. or Ms. Jerk. I'm going to call them "J" for short. Remember, keep your eye on the ball and try not to be too sensitive about the jerk -- I mean J. Here are some techniques that will help you with this process. (The last one in particular is critical.)

  • Listen without arguing.
  • Ask questions. Not argumentative questions, but questions that will give you more insight into J's point of view.
  • Show interest in their point of view. You don't have to agree with it to show interest. Trust me on this one.
  • If you can, get them to focus on the solutions to the issue and not just the problem. If all we do is focus on the problem, we become an expert on problems. Say to them: I get it, I see the issue. Now, the real question: What's a realistic solution. If they offer a lousy solution, then say, "OK, that's one possibility. What's another realistic solution?" Coach them toward calmness.
  • Clear, open, honest and direct communication is the best way to deal with J or other people who are dealing with J. Every time I've had big challenges with people, one side or the other held back in their communication. That doesn't mean unload on people. It means talk to tjhem professionally.

And here are some additional suggestions to be aware of:

  • Make yourself invaluable to people by focusing on solutions.
  • Stay clear of drama and rise above fray by checking your emotions and focusing on results.
  • Don't complain. Be positive. Complaining is not an Olympic sport.
  • Stay aware of your emotions, and don't let others limit your success.
  • Use your support system. Talk to others about the solution.
  • Be a leader, not a leaver.

Related: To Get Along With Difficult People, Try This Research-Backed Approach

Don't let J's craziness drive you in a direction you don't want to go. As Lisa Earle McLeod says in her book, The Triangle of Truth, "I discovered that what actually puts us over the edge towards craziness ourselves is not other people's dysfunctions; it's their denial of their dysfunctions. You know, how they go out acting all normal, and even self-righteous, as if we're the ones who are loopy."

Don't let others to control your success. Leaving an opportunity (or a network) because someone's a jerk gives them leverage over you and it gives them free reign to lord over others. Don't give J. that power.

Ivan Misner

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

Bestselling Author

Dr. Ivan Misner is a New York Times bestselling author and co-author of the bestselling book, Networking Like a Pro (Entrepreneur Press 2017). He is also the founder and chief visionary officer of BNI, the world's largest referral marketing and networking organization.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Side Hustle

He Took His Side Hustle Full-Time After Being Laid Off From Meta in 2023 — Now He Earns About $200,000 a Year: 'Sweet, Sweet Irony'

When Scott Goodfriend moved from Los Angeles to New York City, he became "obsessed" with the city's culinary offerings — and saw a business opportunity.

Marketing

I Got Over 225,000 Views in Just 3 Months With Short-Form Video — Here's Why It's the New Era of Marketing

Thanks to our new short-form video content strategy, we've amassed over 225,000 video views in just three months. Learn how to increase brand awareness through short-form video content.

Branding

94% of Customers Say a Bad Review Made Them Avoid Buying From a Brand. Try These 4 Techniques to Protect Your Brand Reputation.

Maintaining a good reputation is key for any business today. With so many people's lives and shopping happening online, what is said about a company on the internet can greatly influence its success.

Personal Finance

How to Get a Lifetime of Investing Experience in Only One Year

Plus, how day traders can learn a lesson from pilots.

Productivity

6 Habits That Help Successful People Maximize Their Time

There aren't enough hours in the day, but these tips will make them feel slightly more productive.

Growing a Business

Looking to Achieve Your Goals But Don't Know Where to Start? Try These Proven Goal-Setting Strategies.

Find a more effective way of creating – and achieving – your goals. Get clear on your vision, make your plan, take action, reassess and then revise.