Answers to Personality Conflicts

Published: Jan 24, 2019

These tips won’t guarantee 100% the end of conflict but they should make your work situation more peaceful.

Be self-introspective. Each time a conflict arises, you need to ask this very important question: How am I contributing to the personality conflict? For instance, a manager who is always in a hurry may frustrate and even alienate a colleague who needs time to question her executive about some work that needs to be done. Or an employee with an untidy work station may be perceived by you as disorderly but in reality this person may be a visionary and top performer. Learn to ignore the messy desk and focus on the person’s sharp mind.

Accentuate the positive. If the individual is making an effort to work cooperatively with you, despite differences in outlook, demonstrate your appreciation of the effort. If it’s your boss, let her know that you welcome her effort.

Talk with the individual. A frequently overlooked tactic is to talk to the person calmly. Talk in a frank but non-threatening manner to get to the problem behind the emotional situation.

Keep communication channels open. You can only do further harm to your relationship with a subordinate, colleague, or supervisor by cutting off communication, even if it is only about work.

Treat everyone alike. If the conflict is with one of your employees, don’t single this person out for any better or worse treatment than other staff members. If the conflict is with a peer, be as cooperative with this individual as other colleagues.

Agree to disagree. If all else fails, you may want to meet with the individual to agree that you have innate differences but that you will put these aside and work together. Just as talking out a problem with an executive may reveal a misunderstanding about the nature of your work, or that you don’t know something you are doing bothers a colleague, agreeing to disagree may likewise get you past the personality conflict. In focusing on work, you and your boss or co-worker may, in time, create a productive partnership that overrides any personality differences.