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Do Personality Conflicts Limit Your Business? - Business Times Column #118

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

Personality conflicts hurt business operations by contributing to a decline in communication, collaboration and teamwork. Efficiency, productivity, team member satisfaction, retention, business growth and profits are all affected. The degree to which team members don’t collaborate presents one of the greatest obstacles to business success.

It’s important for business owners and managers to remain aware of negative behaviors that are a result of personality conflicts and address them early and consistently to keep communication, collaboration and teamwork at consistently high levels.

Do you recognize any or all of these sabotaging behaviors in your business?

Verbal sabotage: Gossip and snide or edgy comments are common when there’s a personality conflict between team members. This type of negativity doesn’t lead to positive outcomes and can permanently damage the work environment. It has no place in a powerful business model.

Avoidance: Some people choose avoidance to cope with personality conflicts. While this might offer a quieter and more discreet way of dealing with the situation, it’s not effective in fostering the high levels of communication and collaboration necessary in highly functional businesses.

Resistance: In resistance mode, individuals openly or overtly resist the suggestions, desires, directions and demands of the person with which they conflict. They could even demonstrate intentional actions intended to get back at or push the other person’s buttons. This type of behavior is not part of a successful team.

Arguing: This behavior is the antithesis of effective communication, collaboration and teamwork and doesn’t contribute to positive environments in which team members perform at peak levels. Arguments and aggressive disagreements disrupt operations, send negativity rippling throughout the business and damage company culture.

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

Many personality conflicts arise out of the unconscious habits of team members. Sometimes these habits can easily be corrected by simply drawing attention to the damaging negative behaviors in which team members engage and make it clear they’re not acceptable in the workplace.

Team trainings designed to help people understand themselves and others — their similarities and differences — and also teach participants how to communicate with various behavioral types are invaluable to business success. With greater understanding and acceptance and enhanced communication skills, personality conflicts are significantly reduced.

Effective coaching helps people become fully aware of the situation at hand and their roles in it. By working with a qualified professional, people learn to take personal responsibility for their attitudes and corresponding behaviors and then correct them to create a more positive and collaborative work environment.

Another option for reducing personality conflicts is to proactively hire for attitude and skills. Through the use of highly accurate assessments of the attitudes and skills team members bring to your business, personality conflicts can be diminished from the outset.

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

It takes a well-designed team working together in a culture free of personality conflicts to deliver the best possible experience to your customers.

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

 
Marcus Straub owns Life is Great! Inc. in Grand Junction. His personalized coaching and consulting services help individuals, business owners, executives and companies build teams, organizations and lives that are filled with happiness and success. He is the winner of the 2011 International Coach of the Year Award, and is also the author of “Is It Fun Being You?.” He is available for free consultations regarding coaching, speaking and trainings. Reach Straub by phone at 208-3150, by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on the website at www.lifeisgreatcoaching.com.
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