Dealing with Personality Conflicts at Work

Personality conflicts at work happen to everyone eventually. Unless you work at a job that completely cuts you off from contact with any other human being, the problem is simply inevitable.

Any kind of healthy workplace communication, such as a conversation, a memo or a presentation, requires a basic set of communication skills. These skills are usually automatic and require no conscious thought to perform. However, when it comes to personality conflicts, you need consciously focus on specific communication skills that can help resolve the problem.

Dealing with Personality Conflicts
When it comes to personality conflicts at work, major issues must be resolved to preserve a productive work environment. Avoiding the person or leaving the situation may not be possible and you must find a way to solve the problem for the safety of your job. You're going to need to use a calm approach, basic conflict negotiations and non-confrontational statements for the best results.

  1. Think things through. Before you try any conflict resolution tactics with a co-worker, you need to understand the issues. Reflect on what things the person is doing that bother you and reflect on what things you may be doing that bother your co-worker. Come up with ideas on how the two of you could compromise to make things less stressful.
  2. Keep calm. It's vital to keep calm and collected during any kind of conflict negotiations. Shouting, bullying, attacking or belittling a co-worker is going to make you look bad while making the personality conflict much worse. Even if things go poorly, a person who acts calm and mature is going to garner much more respect than a person who acts childish.
  3. Use non-confrontational language. How you word things during a conflict negotiation is very important. Accusing statements, such as "You act like you're the boss," is going to automatically put people on the defensive. Factual statements, such as "I feel as if you act like you're the boss sometimes" prevent someone from going on the defensive. While someone may argue that they don't act a certain way, they cannot argue that you don't feel like they act a certain way.
  4. Find a compromise. The only way to resolve a personality conflict at work is to find a compromise you both can follow to develop a healthier working relationship. You need to be flexible and try to see things from your co-worker's point of view so that the two of you can create a fair compromise. However, you don't need to be a pushover and concede to things that you believe are unfair or impractical.
  5. Keep it private. Few things spread through a workplace faster than a common cold or office gossip. Regardless of how your conflict negotiations turn out, you need to keep your opinions and feelings to yourself. Gossip or people taking sides only aggravate personality conflicts at work. The best way to keep the issue small is to keep it private.
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