No matter how careful you are, difficult situations in the workplace are going to happen. They are unavoidable. Unlike your friends, you can’t choose who you work with. Unlike your family, you won’t have the same experiences or share similar values with your co-workers.
To add further complications to the situation, the environment that you are in expects you to be able to maintain a professional demeanor, regardless of how unprofessional your coworker may be acting.
Employers Trending Towards Team Project Implementation
There has been a growing trend among employers assigning teams to projects as opposed to individuals. The idea is that a group of people will be able to specialize in the areas of the project that best fit their skill sets, allowing other members to work on portions of the project that they themselves may not excel at. This, in theory, will lead to better results for the employer and project.
The downside to the growing trend of teams in the workplace is that it places certain personalities together that may not be compatible. This leads to conflicts in the workplace within the team which can hinder efficiency and slow down progress.
Personality Types in the Workplace that Clash
There are four main personality traits that show themselves in a group setting. These main traits are impulsiveness, skepticism, willingness to accept others and their ideas, and their systematic approach to the task at hand.
Most team members will demonstrate the traits of two of these personality types:
1. Dominant Personalities: Skeptical and Impulsive
People with a dominant personality are direct and confrontational. They will address an issue head on, sometimes too quickly. They are impulsive and will have a tendency to go “all-in” with something they feel strongly about.
They are skeptical people. If they do not see eye to eye on something, they are going to be hard to convince. They don’t have a lot of patience, but they will keep the group pushing forward.
2. Conscientious Personalities – Skeptical and Methodical
People with a conscientious personality are just as skeptical as those with dominant personality traits. They are set in their ways and difficult to convince otherwise. Conscientious people take a systematic approach to everything they do.
They are more patient, sometimes a fault. They are detail oriented and very logical thinkers. They are less likely to rush things or leave any mistakes, but they can really drag down the timeline of a project within a team environment.
3. Influential Personalities – Accepting and Impulsive
People with an influential personality will feel at home in a team environment. They work well with others and show enthusiasm for group settings.
They act impulsively. They are quick to take an idea and run with it. They will have some trouble turning down conflicting ideas, often leading to difficulties when those ideas clash. They are great support members within a team, but they will often lack in the leadership department.
4. Steady Personalities – Accepting and Methodical
People with a steady personality are consistent and predictable. They will not cause distractions within a group atmosphere. They prioritize group harmony above all else.
Much like influential personalities, they are great team members but lack leadership skills. They don’t push projects along very effectively, but they don’t create distractions or issues that could slow progress down.
Why these Personality Profiles can Clash
The conflict will often arise in group settings between the opposite types.
Steady personalities will not respond will those with dominant traits and vice versa. Steady personalities will be more passive-aggressive while dominant personalities will be more assertive and aggressive.
Likewise, conscientious people will not always work well with influential people. Influential personalities are too impulsive. This will not sit well with a detail oriented conscientious person.
On the other hand, a conscientious person may nit-pick at things that aren’t needed, sometimes slowing the project down to a halt. This conflict in the pace of the project will create friction between the two sides.
How to Manage These Personality Conflicts
- Accepting that Conflicts Will Happen
The first step in managing these conflicts is to accept that they will occur. Even if you’ve never had an issue with a team member in the past, it is always better to err on the side of caution and assume they will occur eventually.
Best case, no conflict occurs at all. Worst case, your personalities clash and you will know what is happening. Either way, it’s better to be prepared than unprepared.
- It’s Not Their Fault
Understand that it is not anyone’s fault. No one can change their personality.
- Focus on Letting It Go
Don’t spend your energy trying to change them. It won’t work.
Focus on finding a way to move past the problem and prevent it from affecting the project. Don’t take it personally because it is not an intentional attack towards you.