It’s going to happen. There will be conflict! Conflict is not always bad as it shows that people can have open discussions and voice their opinions. However, personality conflicts can be painful and destructive.
If you have a personality conflict, you have to decide: Do you want to improve the relationship? If so, here are some tips.
Look at yourself first. Ask yourself questions like: When did the problem start? Was there a defining moment or did it build over time? What did I do to cause or escalate the conflict?
Recognize the other person’s strengths. What do they do well? How have they been helpful? If the person is trying to work cooperatively, how are you responding to the effort?
Talk to, not about them! Not talking or avoiding the other person won’t help. Holding grudges hurts you more than them. When you talk with the person about the problem, be specific. Don’t make accusations. Ask open ended non-threatening questions. If the conversation becomes emotional or nonproductive, suggest having a third party facilitate it. In any case, always be polite and professional.
Consider making changes. Are you willing to do things differently? If you make changes, what do you expect in return? Brainstorm ideas together and be open to suggestions. Reconvene to evaluate the changes and make further changes.
Conflict is inevitable but you can manage it.
Dr. Mimi Hull, president of Hull & Associates (www.hullonline.com), is a fully licensed psychologist who focuses on the workplace. Hull & Associates is a workforce development, training, and consulting firm that improves both organizational and personal effectiveness. Through various successful resources, assessments, and programs, Dr. Mimi is able to achieve bottom-line results for organizations by developing their employees, building cohesive and inclusive teams and strengthening positive leadership. She’s also a familiar voice in the Central Florida area from her long-running radio program on workplace issues and television appearances.