Understanding personality conflicts in the workplace is important for managers and employees alike to ensure disputes or frustrations with others are not impeding the team’s ability to remain engaged and productive. Different personalities can clash regardless of the situation. Add in work stress, deadlines, and the day-to-day struggles of work, and these clashes can escalate quickly.
Personality Conflicts in the Workplace
There are different types of conflict that can unfold in the workplace. Personality conflicts in the workplace are among the most common type of conflict. If you’re frustrated with a peer’s personality traits or feel it’s difficult to complete collaborative tasks with them, here are some steps to de-escalate rather than add fuel to the fire.
Avoid Discussing These Issues with Others
When dealing with personality conflicts in the workplace it may be tempting to ask for advice or vent to other colleagues about the coworker you’re struggling with. However, this can escalate issues rather than defuse them.
Recruiting allies makes sense, but it can also create a toxic company culture where those who are not impacted extend the impact of the conflict making it everyone’s problem. This can also further divide you and your disputing colleague as they will likely feel angry, assume rumors are spreading, and become more defensive. None of these things support healthy conflict resolution.
Take Space from The Trigger
If your colleague is pushing your buttons or frustrating you with how they approach things differently, slow down your reactivity to them. Immediate emotional reactivity can also act as fuel to the fire and will not diffuse the tension. Managing employee conflict is more effective if you can walk away and take some space rather than responding immediately.
Take Responsibility for Your Part
You may want to put full blame on your colleague but it’s always helpful to include in your perspective of the events how you may or may not have contributed to the flare up. Are there things you can change to make communication better, to collaborate more easily, or to identify and resolve differing opinions between you?
Use Your Communication Tools
Effective communication means not reacting emotionally, slowing down in the moment, and getting a more objective view of things before expressing yourself in a way that will not further escalate tensions. If you can use effective, objective communication tools to address specific issues between you and your colleague, you may be able to work toward collaboration rather than conflict in the workplace.
Escalate to Management When Needed
Remember you don’t have to figure out how to resolve employee conflict alone.
If you’re unable to make progress in resolving the conflict effectively and the issues persist in a way that increases your stress or challenges your ability to do your job, you may want to bring your concerns to a manager who can support you. You can also get support from conflict resolution experts who can provide insight into the right approach to preserve your working relationships.
If resolving conflict between employees feels overwhelming, get support from neutral and experienced professionals who can diffuse rather than ignite the tension at work. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right solutions for your team.