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Business Times Column

by Marcus

Do Personality Conflicts Limit Your Business?

Personality conflicts between team members are often the primary reason for a lack of collaboration within any given business or organization. These conflicts have a direct impact on business operations and almost always contribute to a decline in efficiency, productivity, retention, business growth and bottom-line profits. The degree to which your team does not work together is, perhaps, one of the greatest obstacles to business success.

The smooth and effective flow of information is critical when working to meet the needs of clients, foreseeing challenges and overcoming obstacles. It is also essential to the efficient production and delivery of quality goods and services. When communication is limited, or even impossible, due to personality conflicts, the business weakens from within and its effects are far reaching.

It is critically important for business owners and managers to be aware of potential negative behaviors that are a result of personality conflicts and, to “nip them in the bud” in order to keep communication and collaboration at consistently high levels.

Are any of these damaging behaviors hurting your business?

Verbal Sabotage: Gossip and snide or edgy comments are common between individuals who do not like each other. This type of negativity never leads to positive outcomes and can permanently damage the work environment. It has no place in a powerful business model.

Avoidance: Some people turn to avoidance to cope with a personality conflict. While this may be a quieter and more discreet way of dealing with the situation, it is not effective in fostering the high levels of collaboration necessary in fully functional businesses.

Resistance: When in resistance, individuals will openly or overtly resist the suggestions, desires, directions and demands of the person they are in conflict with. They may even demonstrate intentional spiteful actions that are intended to get back at or push the other person’s buttons.

Arguing: This behavior is the antithesis of effective communication and does not contribute to positive environments where team members can perform at peak levels. Arguments and aggressive disagreements are disruptive to operations, send negativity rippling throughout the business and are a distraction to the work at hand.

If you recognize some or all of these behaviors in your team members, it’s important to realize the tremendous drag they are having on the resources, operations and profitability of your company. Even top talent and customers can be lost as a result of these conflicts. Given the overwhelming downside personality struggles bring to a business, it is imperative that you discover, address and overcome them as quickly as possible.

Many of these personality conflicts arise out of unconscious habits that exist within each team member. Sometimes, these habits can easily be corrected by simply drawing their attention to the damaging negative behaviors they are engaging in, and making it clear that they are not acceptable in the workplace.

Effective coaching or training can be very successful in helping people become fully aware of the situation at-hand and their role in it. By working with a qualified professional, you can help them change their attitudes and corresponding behaviors to create a solution-oriented and positive work environment.

Another option for lowering the occurrence of personality conflicts is to proactively hire for both attitude and skills. A positive, supportive and collaborative attitude is a boon to any business. Through the use of highly accurate assessments that measure both attitude and skills of the team member you bring into your business, personality conflicts can be diminished from the outset.

Occasionally, some team members will insist on keeping conflict alive and will refuse to put down their differences. In these instances, the wisest choice is to let them go. Anytime you reduce negativity in the workplace, you improve the satisfaction level of the team and, in turn, improve customer service and profitability.

Teams operate at their highest levels when each individual team member works together toward shared goals. Much like the different components of a clock working in unison to keep the correct time, it takes a well-designed team to deliver the best possible experience to your customer base.

It is true that each of us is different, and we won’t always agree. However, when strategic investments are made in helping team members understand themselves and each other better, acceptance of differences become easier and collaboration becomes the norm.

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This article was written for and published in collaboration with The Business Times newspaper.

Access the article here.