Are personality conflicts sabotaging your business?

Marcus Straub
Marcus Straub

Personality conflicts hurt business operations by contributing to a decline in efficiency, productivity, team member satisfaction, retention, business growth and bottom-line profits. The degree to which team members don’t collaborate is, perhaps, one of the greatest obstacles to business success.

The smooth, effective flow of information is critical when working to meet the needs of clients, foreseeing challenges and overcoming obstacles. It’s also essential to the efficient production and delivery of quality goods and services in a timely manner. When communication is limited or even impossible due to personality conflicts, the business weakens from within and its effects are far-reaching.

It’s critically important for business owners and managers to be aware of negative behaviors that are a result of personality conflicts and to nip them in the bud to keep communication and collaboration at consistently high levels.

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

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

Resistance: When in resistance, individuals openly or overtly resist the suggestions, desires, directions and demands of the person with whom they’re in conflict. They might even demonstrate intentional spiteful actions intended to get back at or push the other person’s buttons. This type of behavior is not part of a successful team.

Verbal sabotage: Gossip and snide or edgy comments are common between individuals who don’t like each other. This type of negativity never leads to positive outcomes and can permanently damage the work environment. It has no place in a powerful business model. 

Arguing: This behavior is the antithesis of effective communication and doesn’t contribute to positive environments where team members perform at peak levels. Arguments and aggressive disagreements disrupt operations, send negativity rippling throughout the business and damage company culture.

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

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

Effective coaching is successful in helping people become fully aware of the situation at hand and their role in it. By working with a qualified professional, people learn to take personal responsibility for their attitudes and corresponding behaviors and can then correct them to create a more positive and collaborative work environment.

Team trainings designed to help people understand themselves and others — their similarities and differences — and also teach participants how to communicate with various behavioral types are invaluable to business success. With greater understanding of each other and enhanced communication skills, personality conflicts are significantly reduced.

Another option for lowering the occurrence of personality conflicts is to proactively hire for both attitude and skills. Through the use of highly accurate assessments that measure both the attitude and skills of the team member you bring into your business, personality conflicts can be diminished from the outset.

Occasionally, some team members will insist on keeping conflict alive and refuse to put down their differences. In these instances, the wisest choice is to let them go. Any time you reduce negativity in the workplace, you improve the satisfaction level of the team and, in turn, improve customer service and profitability. 

Each of us is different, and we won’t always agree. However, when strategic investments are made in helping team members understand themselves and each other better, acceptance of differences become easier and collaboration becomes the norm. Much like the different components of a clock working in unison to keep the correct time, it takes a well-designed team to deliver the best possible experience to your customer base.