Overcome personality conflicts and thrive

Marcus Straub

The efficient, effective and smooth flow of information is critical to consistently meet and exceed the wants and needs of customers, foresee challenges and opportunities and overcome obstacles. It’s also essential to the production and delivery of high-quality goods and services in a timely manner.

When communication is limited or even impossible because of personality conflicts, businesses weaken from within and the effects become far reaching.

Personality conflicts hurt businesses by contributing to a decline in collaboration, communication, morale, teamwork and trust. In turn, culture, efficiency, productivity, growth, profits and team member retention and satisfaction all suffer. The degree to which team members don’t communicate effectively and collaborate constitutes one of the greatest obstacles to business success.

It’s important for business owners and managers to remain aware of negative behaviors that result from personality conflicts and address them early and effectively to keep collaboration, communication, morale 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 when there are a personality conflicts between team members. This damages the work environment and has no place in a powerful business model.

Avoidance: Some people choose avoidance to cope with personality conflicts. 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 teams.

Resistance: When in resistance mode, team members overtly defy the demands, directions, desires and even suggestions of the people with which they conflict. They might even demonstrate spiteful actions intended to get back at or push the other person’s buttons. This type of behavior isn’t part of a successful team.

Arguing: This behavior is the antithesis of effective communication and collaboration and hinders environments where team members perform at peak levels. Arguments and aggressive disagreements disrupt operations, send negativity rippling throughout the business and damage morale and 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 exert on the operations, profitability and resources 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 to discover, address and overcome them as quickly as possible.

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

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

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

Another option for reducing personality conflicts is to proactively hire for not only skills, but also attitude and emotional intelligence. Through the use of accurate assessments that measure these attributes of the team members you bring into your business, personality conflicts can be diminished from the outset.

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

A well-designed team working together in a culture free of personality conflicts delivers the best possible experience to customers. We’re all unique and won’t always agree. However, when strategic investments are made to help team members better understand themselves and others, acceptance of differences become easier and communication and teamwork become the norm.