Do personality conflicts damage your business?

Marcus Straub
Marcus Straub

The effective and efficient flow of information is critical to consistently meeting and exceeding the wants and needs of customers, foreseeing challenges and overcoming obstacles. The smooth flow of information also is essential to the production and timely delivery of high-quality goods and services. When communication is limited or even impossible because of personality conflicts, the business weakens from within and the effects reach far.

Personality conflicts hurt communication, collaboration and teamwork, in turn hurting efficiency, productivity, culture, team member satisfaction, retention, business growth and profits. The degree to which team members don’t communicate effectively and collaborate presents one of the greatest obstacles to business success.

It’s important for business owners and managers to be aware of negative behaviors resulting from personality conflicts and to address these behaviors early and effectively to keep communication, collaboration and teamwork at consistently high levels.

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

Verbal sabotage: Gossip and snide or edgy comments are common with personality conflicts between team members. This type of negativity can damage the work environment and has no place in a powerful business model.

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

Arguing: This behavior is the antithesis of effective communication, collaboration and teamwork and keeps team members from performing at peak levels. Arguments and aggressive disagreements disrupt operations, send negativity rippling throughout the business and damage company culture.

Avoidance: Some people choose avoidance to cope with a personality conflict. While this might offer a quieter and 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.

If you recognize some or all of these behaviors in yourself or your team members, it’s important to realize the tremendous drag they exert 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 overwhelming downside personality conflicts bring to a business, it’s imperative you discover, address and overcome conflicts as quickly as possible.

Effective coaching can help people become fully aware of conflicts and their roles in them. By working with a qualified professional, team members learn to take responsibility for their attitudes and corresponding behaviors and correct them to create a more positive and collaborative work environment.

Many personality conflicts arise out of the unconscious habits of team members. 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 those behaviors aren’t acceptable in the workplace.

Team trainings designed to help people understand themselves and others — their similarities and differences  — and also teach participants how to effectively communicate with various behavioral types are invaluable to business success. With greater understanding and acceptance as well as 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 the attitudes and skills of the team member you bring into your business, personality conflicts can be diminished from the outset.

Sometimes, team members insist on keeping conflict alive and refuse to put aside their differences. In these 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, improve customer service and profitability.

Each of us is unique and different. We don’t always agree. However, when strategic investments are made in helping team members understand themselves and each other better, acceptance of differences becomes easier and communication and collaboration become the norm. It takes a well-designed team working in a culture free of personality conflicts to deliver the best possible experience to your customers.