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7 Steps for Resolving Personality Conflicts in the Workplace

February 11th, 2008 · 4 Comments


Conflicts rip through every team and wreak havoc on the unity and focus of team. It is critical to understand what causes conflicts and seek resolution as expeditiously and thoroughly as possible. The main cause of conflicts is personality. Sometimes, the personality conflicts are wrapped around viable issues like differences of opinion on how to best accomplish a task, what rules or regulations govern an operation, or what takes priority among multiple issues; too often conflicts are unresolved because of personalities rather than issues.

Here are 7 steps for resolving personality conflicts in the workplace:

1) Maintain friendliness:

Cordial and courteous actions and words are often all that is required to mitigate personality conflicts. Maintain a friendly environment and you may very well maintain a “personality conflict free” environment.

2) Keep it professional:

Professionalism is a pertinent factor to keep tempers and attitudes from getting out of control. The Type-A personality is a great person to have on the team, but the Type-A personality can cause problems if there isn’t a clear practice of professionalism.

3) Determine the source of problems:

When conflicts arise, do not dismiss them as matters of personality. Seek to resolve any and all underlying problems, differences of opinion, and genuine work issues. Focusing attention on problems that matter will unite the team and draw attention to teamwork.

4) Document conflicts:

When conflicts do arise, it is important to keep track of the problems to determine the depth and breadth of the issues that infect your workplace. Documentation can also be used to determine an underlying source of problems or avoidable trends in conflicts.

5) Keep relevant parties informed:

Conflicts should not be swept under the rug and hidden. Problems will haunt your team and infect your work; conflicts need to be resolved – this is the only way to maintain the unity and effectiveness of a team.

6) Don’t hesitate to take the issue higher:

Sometimes a team member may need to be laterally transferred in order to put personality issues in perspective. If properly managed, a personality conflict should never lead to firing a team member, but under some circumstance a lateral transfer may be the best answer. If you do not have the authority to transfer someone, take the issue to those with the authority. Keep in mind, proper documentation will probably be required in order to make the case, so go back to step number 4.

7) Keep it professional:

All in all, keep things professional. We are all different and this is the value of a team.

Leadership quote from William Wrigley:
“In business, when two people always agree, one of them is irrelevant.”

Conflicts, in and of themselves, are not problems, but rather contribute to the dynamism and viability of a team.

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Tags: Conflicts · Leadership · Teams · To Do · William Wrigley

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