What's your problem?

I'VE NOTHING IN COMMON WITH MY TEAM MATE. I work in an office where we operate in pairs, carrying out research on specific projects. My partner left six months ago and someone new was recruited. The problem is that I don't get on with him.

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

We are completely different, have different approaches and lifestyles, and neither of us particularly likes the other. I have mentioned this to my line manager, and she's told me to just deal with it and not waste her time. I've tried going out for drinks with my partner, but there's no getting round the fact that we have nothing to say to one another. I'm thinking of leaving, even though I love the job. Any advice?

A: On the face of it, your line manager is simply not doing what line managers are paid to do: which is manage. But you say you've mentioned this problem to her, which suggests a degree of casualness. It's entirely possible that, seen through her eyes, this the scenario looks like this ...

A successful pair is broken up when one member leaves. The remaining member behaves like a sulky teenager, deeply resents the replacement partner, goes out of the way to make them feel unwanted and makes no attempt to adjust and accommodate ...

Please don't fly into a huff. I'm simply saying this is how it may seem. If you're accurate in your own assessment, there's only one way to resolve it. You and your new partner must go together to see your line manager and present a cool and united case. Don't blame each other; just point out the damage to productivity that such incompatibility inevitably involves. Unless your line manager is a real incompetent, you should soon find yourselves working with different partners.

Please address your problems to Jeremy Bullmore at: Management Today, 174 Hammersmith Road, London W6 7JP. Or e-mail: management.today@haynet.com Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

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