7 Steps to Resolve Personality Conflicts in the Workplace
If you’re an avid fan of the popular television show ‘The Office’, you have seen how the characters Jim and Dwight are always at each other’s neck, pranking and just trying to annoy each other. Not only them, but other characters in the show just don’t get along with each other. Why so? A clash of personalities is most likely at the root of these conflicts.
Why Personality Conflicts Happen?
Personality conflicts are bound to happen in the workplace despite our best efforts to make the workplace a non-toxic environment. The unpropitious outcome is that the quality and enjoyment of our work suffers, and our stress levels soar.
In most situations, when personality conflicts happen in the workplace, the rest of the team is enraged as well. Nevertheless, in any relationship, both people affect the other’s behaviour.
In personality conflicts, both sides bear some responsibility for where “things are at.” While we don’t have the power to alter someone else’s personality, we can certainly change our attitude and regulate our emotions.
Use these 7 steps to resolve conflicts in the workplace:
- Avoid discussing the matter with others in the office
Many people who are involved in personality conflicts try to recruit allies among their coworkers. This can create polarization among coworkers, and it escalates the situation. While you are deeply upset about this, others are not, and most often coworkers are uncomfortable.
This behaviour is disruptive to the organization and makes it more challenging to fix the situation. It’s better to focus on how to de-escalate the conflict instead of firing it up.
- Don’t react on every comment that is irking you
Personality conflicts are inflamed when you go back and forth replying to other people. They know how to push the buttons, and they’ve been doing this for some time.
By not reacting immediately, you allow yourself some time to think about your response, and this delay can lead the other person to feel that you are back down and that they will tend to de-escalate.
- Reflect on Yourself
How do you react to this situation? What part do you play in escalating things? The secret to this is to reflect on what you can do differently! Think of how you can make things better.
If you can work out your role in the situation, you can learn something important about yourself, and you will be able to de-escalate the dispute.
- Focus on the strengths of the other person.
Consider the benefits that the other person brings to your business or your team. When things go wrong, we prefer to concentrate on what doesn’t succeed and all the negatives.
Focusing on the positive helps us at least get back to a neutral area and look at things a little more rationally.
- Use cooperative communication.
Say things like, “I’ve found that we seem to have disagreements. I have some ideas about how we can work together more efficiently, and I’d like to hear your thoughts.” Invite them to be part of the solution and listen to their suggestions. If you’re unable to connect either because you’re too upset or because the other person is, walk away gracefully instead of standing on your ground and causing things to exacerbate.
- Reframe the situation.
For example, the person you’re dealing with is screaming and yelling and wanting to be right! Instead of being frustrated and upset by their unprofessional behaviour, imagine them as a kid wearing a diaper and throwing a temper tantrum. This helps you to take a step back and not get involved.
- Document all interactions in a neutral manner.
It is essential that we keep track of the scuffles. If you are unable to de-escalate the issue early on, take the matter to your direct supervisor or others in your HR department and ask a neutral party to arbitrate the problem.
Conflicts should never be brushed aside. If you are a boss or manager and you have staff involved in a personal dispute, advise them to fix their own problem, even if that doesn’t work! Take the rein of the situation as you have the responsibility of your workplace and employee. When everyone is happy, your work will flow without anyone losing their peace of mind over unnecessary conflicts.