Are Personality Conflicts Hurting Your Business? - Column #145
Personality conflicts hurt businesses by contributing to declines in communication, collaboration and teamwork. In turn, efficiency, productivity, retention, team member satisfaction and ultimately business growth and profits suffer. The degree to which team members don’t collaborate presents one of the greatest obstacles to business success.
The effective, efficient and smooth flow of information is critical when working to consistently meet and exceed the wants and needs of customers as well as foreseeing challenges and solving problems. Communication is also essential to the production and delivery of high quality goods and services in a timely manner. When communication is limited or even impossible because of personality conflicts, the business weakens from within and the effects reach far and wide.
It’s critical for business owners and managers to remain aware of negative behaviors that are a result of personality conflicts and to address them early and effectively to keep communication, collaboration and teamwork at consistently high levels.
Do you recognize any or all of these sabotaging behaviors at your business?
Arguing: This behavior constitutes the antithesis of effective communication, collaboration and teamwork and inhibits positive environments where team members perform at peak levels. Arguments and aggressive disagreements disrupt operations, send negativity rippling through the business and damage company culture.
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, collaboration and trust necessary in highly functional businesses.
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 significantly damage the work environment. It has no place in a powerful business model.
Resistance: When in resistance mode, individuals openly or overtly resist the demands, desires, directions and suggestions of the people with which they conflict. They might even demonstrate intentional spiteful actions intended to get back at or push other people’s buttons. This type of behavior isn’t part of a successful team.
If you recognize some or all of these behaviors in yourself or your team members, it’s important to realize the tremendous drag they exert on the team and resources as well as the 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 unconscious habits that exist within each team member. Sometimes these habits can easily be corrected by simply drawing attention to the damaging behaviors in which team members engage and making it clear they’re not acceptable.
Effective coaching helps people become fully aware of the situation at hand and their role 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.
Team trainings designed to help people understand themselves and others — their similarities and differences — and also teach participants how to effectively communicate with various behavioral types are invaluable to business success. With greater understanding and acceptance and enhanced communication skills, personality conflicts are significantly reduced.
Another option for lowering the occurrence of personality conflicts is to proactively hire for both attitude and skills. Through the use of highly accurate assessments that measure the attitudes and skills of the team members you bring into your business, personality conflicts can be diminished from the outset.
Sometimes, team members insist on keeping conflict alive and refuse to put down their differences. In these instances, the wisest choice is to let them go. Any time you decrease negativity in the workplace, you increase the satisfaction level of the team and, in turn, improve customer service and profitability.
Each of us is unique. We don’t always agree However, when strategic investments are made in helping team members better understand themselves and others, the acceptance of differences becomes easier and communication and collaboration become the norm.
It takes a well-designed team working together in a culture free of personality conflicts to deliver the best possible experiences to your customers.