Posted by: healingtheworkplace | June 26, 2009

Personality Conflicts in the Workplace

Hello, hello, hello.

It’s TGIF day! For those of you who have not seen this “code” before…it means: Thank Goodness It’s Friday!

This will be especially important for those of you who are not happy at work or who work with people who “drive you crazy”. 

One of the things that makes work a pleasure or a pain is…the people we work with!

And, unless you work on your own you probably have to deal with other people either at work or at some time during your work day.

According to psychologist Dr. Judith Sills,

“Personality, that quirky grab bag of traits, tics, reactions, and beliefs that distinguish one person’s projected self from another’s, is the wild card of the workplace.”

There are many things that can cause us to become stressed at work but many of these “things” can be controlled in one way or another.

What we can’t control are the personalities of the people we work with.

Would it surprise you to know that “personality conflicts are the most commonly reported office problem?”

 What do psychologists mean by personality conflicts?

Well, first of all we know that people tend to be either introverts or extroverts.

Introverts prefer to spend time alone especially when they are stressed out or need to recharge their batteries.

Extroverts, on the other hand, need to be around other people and enjoy talking about their work, the projects they are working on, their lives etc. etc.

Now, most people need both quiet time and time to connect with others BUT sometimes we end up working with someone who is an extreme introvert or an extreme extrovert.

I think that these two people could work together if they understood each other’s behavior. BUT without this understanding, and a willingness to compromise, these two people could end up with a personality conflict.

What can we do when this occurs?

Dr. Sills has the following 4 suggestions:

  • Resist recruiting allies–in other words don’t spend time talking about the individual who is giving you grief. This won’t help you and it creates a toxic work environment.
  • Focus on strengths–remind yourself of the contributions that the other person makes to your team, your organization etc.
  • Get out of the way–some personalities will push your buttons and the best thing to do is to stay out of their way. It is always important to know what triggers you so that you can prevent your own inappropriate reactions.
  • Look in the mirror–this relates to the one above. If you can figure out your role in the dynamic or the source of your response, you’ll learn something important about yourself.

For more information about Judith Sills check out her website www.judithsills.com

She has published a number of books and articles.

So, enjoy the rest of your TGIF day. The weekend is just around the corner.

Lesley

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