Address and overcome personality conflicts

Marcus Straub
Marcus Straub

Personality conflicts hurt businesses by damaging communication, collaboration, teamwork and morale. In turn, culture, efficiency, productivity and team member satisfaction and retention all suffer — along with profits and business growth.

The degree to which team members don’t communicate effectively and collaborate presents one of the greatest obstacles to business success.

The effective and efficient flow of information is critical to consistently meeting and exceeding the wants and needs of customers. It’s essential to producing and delivering high-quality goods and services in a timely manner. When communication is limited or even impossible because of personality conflicts, the business weakens from within and the effects extend far.

It’s crucial for business owners and managers to remain aware of negative behaviors resulting from pesonality personality conflicts and address them early and effectively to keep communication, collaboration, teamwork and morale at high levels.

Do you recognize any or all of these behaviors in your business?

Arguing: This behavior constitutes the antithesis of effective communication, collaboration and teamwork and doesn’t contribute to environments where team members perform at peak levels. Arguments disrupt operations, send negativity rippling through the business and damage company culture and morale.

Avoidance: Some people choose avoidance to cope with a personality conflict. While this might offer a more discreet way of dealing with the situation, it’s not effective in fostering the high levels of communication, collaboration and trust necessary in highly functional businesses.

Verbal sabotage: Gossip and snide or edgy comments are common when there’s a personality conflict between team members. This type of negativity doesn’t lead to positive outcomes and damages the work environment. It has no place in a powerful business model. 

Resistance: Individuals resist the suggestions, desires, directions and demands of the people with which they conflict. They could even demonstrate spiteful actions intended to get back at others. This behavior isn’t part of a successful team.

If you recognize any or all of these behaviors in yourself or team members, it’s important to consider the tremendous drag they’re having on the team, resources, operations and profitability of your company. When top talent and customers are lost as a result of these conflicts, it’s already gone too far. Given the downside personality conflicts bring to a business, it’s imperative to discover, address and overcome them as quickly as possible.

Many conflicts arise out of unconscious habits and tendencies that exist within each team member. Sometimes, these habits can easily be corrected by simply drawing attention to the damaging behaviors in which team members engage and make it clear they’re not acceptable in the workplace. 

Team trainings based on highly accurate assessment results and designed to help people understand themselves and others — their similarities and differences — are invaluable. Trainings teach participants how to effectively communicate with various behavioral types. With greater understanding and acceptance of each other and enhanced communication skills, personality conflicts are reduced.

Effective coaching also helps people become aware of the situations at hand and their roles in them. Working with a qualified professional, team members learn to take responsibility for their attitudes and corresponding behaviors and then correct them to create more positive and collaborative work environments.

Hiring for not only skills, but also attitude and emotional intelligence offers a proactive way to reduce personality conflicts. By using accurate assessments that measure the attributes of the team members you bring into your business, personality conflicts can be diminished from the outset.

Sometimes, team members will insist on keeping conflicts alive and refuse to set aside their differences. In those instances, the wisest choice is to let them go. Anytime you reduce negativity in the workplace, you improve the satisfaction level of the team and, in turn, customer service and profitability. 

It takes a well-designed team working together in a culture free of personality conflicts to deliver the best possible experience to customers. We’re all unique and won’t always agree. But when strategic investments are made to help team members better understand themselves and others, it becomes easier to accept differences and communication and collaboration become the norm.