Wouldn’t it be great if when there was a personality clash, we could just reach for the first aid box? Or if people were all as sensible as us? Most of us have worked with someone that we just didn’t get on with. Some of us remember dreading going to work because of a colleague or a boss that we just couldn’t work with.
Hardwired Response to Personality Clash
There are three ways most people handle the situation, which are hardwired into us as mammals–flight, fight or freeze. If you are a cow, it looks like this:
In humans, all three can result in a solution (or what seems to be a solution), but there is always a cost. You could leave the job, but may find it hard to get another. Staying and putting up with it, could result in stress or acting out your resentment. If you explode, it may damage your position or result in dismissal. So what should you do?
Solving Personality Clashes
Ideally, you would talk to each other before it gets to the maddening stage, but often it creeps up on you and suddenly you can’t talk about it. Some tips to try if it’s still early stage are here.
When is bringing in my conflict first aid a good idea? Four things that suggest that an expert outsider should be brought in:
1. The level of emotions. If there seems to be resistance without logic, or a history of problems, it’s best to call in an expert in conflict management, rather than a friend or colleague.
2. Lack of connection/involvement. The two people may not want to talk to each other or about the problem, except to someone who is not connected or biased.
3. The issue. Is the issue what it seems to be or is it the tip of the iceberg?
4. Impact of clash If business is suffering, if people have started taking sides, or if trust is lost, an impartial expert is more likely to help find resolution and rebuild relationships.
I talk privately to each person involved, helping them understand their own position and tell their story. Once people feel heard and have a chance to vent, they can think more clearly. My role is to make a safe place for everyone to be heard. I help them learn how to express their needs in a way that makes them more likely to be met. If you would like to know more, please ring or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary confidential discussion.