Personality Conflict? How to Start the Conversation
Personality conflict at work?
Frustrated that someone won’t listen?
Stuck because someone resists change?
Awkward customer? Or staff?
Can’t get round to talking about it?
Here are some tips… Think of Traffic Lights
Breathe slowly and deeply, relax…Research shows that this helps you to be more rational. When you are angry, frustrated or upset, your thinking brain is not working properly. Just when you really really need to say the right thing, if you are upset, you’ll say the wrong one. Wait until you are calm.
Plan and Prepare
Think about the following things:
- What is most important to you
- What outcome you want
- The worst that could happen if you did nothing
- The worst that could happen if you spoke up
- The best that could happen
- What has worked for you before
- What you could do to ensure that the best happens and the worst doesn’t
Try and see the personality conflict from their point of view. Is there anything you might have done that they misinterpreted? Is it possible you are misinterpreting their behaviour?
Choose the time and place carefully if you can. If you can’t, decide whether or not it is likely to have a good outcome.
Ask permission to talk about it. For example, “we don’t seem to be getting on very well at the moment, and it would make life easier for everyone if we did. I’d like to explore with you what we could do to change that. Is now a good time?”
Be curious, not critical. Show respect & find common goals. State objectively the events that upset you. Say how you felt. Don’t use blaming words like “you made me feel …” Instead say “when you interrupt me, I feel that my view is not important.” If the person gets defensive, ask for their view and their solution.
Breathe deeply and avoid becoming defensive or angry yourself. Try and make them feel safe to state their view by listening and keeping calm.
Download a worksheet to get you started.