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4 Personality Traits that Create Conflicts in The Workplace

4 Personality Traits that Create Conflicts in The Workplace

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.

People from all different backgrounds are being asked to work together. There will be differences and there will be conflicts from time to time. For many of us, we will spend more time with our coworkers than anyone else. That’s 8+ hours per day, 5 days a week, over and over again. You are stuck together, you have to work together, and you will not always see eye to eye on everything.

In our social lives, we can simply distance ourselves from those that are creating friction in our lives. Friends, acquaintances or strangers that cause more problems than they are worth can be removed from the complicated equation that we call life. At the workplace, however, it is not that easy. When you are working with difficult people in the workplace, you are stuck with them. You can either ignore it or take it on face to face.

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.

team in the workplace

    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.

    It’s hard to tell who will thrive in a team environment and who will struggle. Often, it will come down to the personality traits of each member and how well those traits complement (or clash) with each other.

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    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.

    Dominant Personalities – Skeptical and Impulsive

      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.

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      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

      Between these four personality types, 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.

      These Personality Traits Clash on Two Levels:

      Impulsive and methodical approaches do not alight with each other. This will often create conflict with the speed vs. attention to detail that the group is applying as they progress through the project.

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      Skepticism and acceptance will have contradictory effects. While skeptical people will be hesitant to accept new or alternative ideas until they are thoroughly convinced, more accepting team members will be eager to implement new ideas as they come.

      Dealing with Personality

        Dealing with Personality Differences as an Employee

        Understanding these personality types will help you handle conflicts more effectively. By knowing what to expect, you will be less likely to be caught off guard when there is a conflict and you will be better equipped to diffuse the situation and work in harmony with one another.

        This works in two ways:

        • Understanding the personality types of your group members

        Think about the traits that your coworkers have displayed in the past. How do they handle conflict? How do they express themselves? You can profile their personality traits based their past behavior. Expect them to exhibit the same traits going forward.

        • Understanding your own personality traits

        Are you an assertive person, or more passive? If things aren’t going the way you want them to go, will you speak out or will you let it fester? When an idea that you know is wrong is brought up, is your first instinct to try and figure out how you can implement it, or will you shoot it down quickly? Think about these questions and try to figure out what traits you display in a group setting.

        Be critical of yourself when you are doing this. It’s easy to give yourself the benefit of the doubt and place yourself above all of these categories. Of course, most people will fall somewhere in the middle of all of these traits, but chances are, your personality will skew more one way or the other.

        If you are truly stumped, think about the personality traits of the people you don’t get along with. You are probably the opposite of them.

        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.

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        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.

        managing conflict at the workplace
          • It’s Not Their Fault

          Understand that it is not anyone’s fault. No one can change their personality. When personalities clash, it’s usually not a matter of who is right or wrong. Instead, it’s a simple fact that your natural personality traits will clash in a team setting.

          If you look at it that way, it’s no one’s fault. If you are caught up in a conflict with one of your coworkers, don’t focus on defending your actions or criticizing them. Instead, recognize that it is simply a matter of your opposing personality traits clashing and focus your energy on finding a middle ground that you can both use to move forward with the work.

          • Focus on Letting It Go

          After establishing why these conflicts occur, don’t spend your energy trying to change them. It won’t work. The natural response is to battle it out; defend your actions and criticize theirs. This will never lead to a long-term solution.

          The best way to handle conflicts like this is to understand that people make mistakes and everyone won’t always get along perfectly. It may be due to poor communication, confusion, or it could simply be that one of you has misinterpreted the other. In any case, conflicts will often stem from a place where neither party is completely at fault.

          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.

          More by this author

          Anand Mishra

          Information Technology

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          Last Updated on June 12, 2018

          Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

          Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

          A dysfunctional family is more than disagreement or constant arguments. Anything from plain neglect, to abuse and even verbal and physical violence is the everyday experience of those who are part of a dysfunctional family.

          You know how this looks:

          • Parents constantly comparing children.
          • Siblings in conflict because of tolerated bullying.
          • Domestic violence.
          • Adultery…
          • And many others.

          For all the members, this will mean emotional pain and even trauma; which, in case it doesn’t get resolved, will have a detrimental effect on the individual’s personality and development.

          Needless to say, the younger members are the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean the parents are out of danger, as most commonly the parents play the roles of abuser-codependent, and in some cases, both parts inflicting pain on one another.

          Most like to think these problems stem from deep-seated issues, and that therefore it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.

          This is only true for families not willing to do what it takes, for if only a single member is determined and knows how to do it, the whole family can do a lot of progress.

          In this article, I’ll break down for you the basic steps of fixing a dysfunctional family. Although it may seem hopeless, it is possible to turn things around.

          If you have ever felt in this position, or if you know somebody who is, this article is for you.

          How to fix a dysfunctional family

          In a few words the solution for a dysfunctional family lies in dropping the ego, focusing on the solution, switching blame for responsibility and doing the work as a unity, for the good of the whole family.

          And this will accomplish things you once only saw as a dream.

          Dropping the ego? Switching blame for responsibility? Doing the work? What does all this mean?

          It’s simple. In a nutshell, it’s that which will allow you to turn a dysfunctional family into a functional one.

          Let’s take a look at how exactly this can be done. And near the end we will also talk about what you can do in a dysfunctional family with cynical traits.

          Dysfunctional families where not only problems are well-known, but also nobody seems to want a fix or openly decide to perpetuate the harmful behaviors. Such as the case of abuse and physical violence.

          There is also a solution for these, it’s just not what you are expecting…

          Dysfunctional… Or just average?

          Most families are dysfunctional, though at varying degrees of dysfunctionality.

          The milder cases, are just marked by “typical” comically-shrouded bullying or lack of interest in other members’ development or wellbeing.

          You can know a family is dysfunctional if their interactions are anything different than cooperation, solidarity, care and support. But let’s get more specific…

          A dysfunctional family is one in which members directly or indirectly suffer emotional and/or physical harm inflicted by other members of their family. Most commonly, perpetrated by the parents.

          Even harmful actions as “passive” as neglect, which is inflicted by inaction rather than action, signifies a dysfunction within the family.

          Dysfunctional families have conflicts such as:

          • Unrealistic expectations
          • Lack of interest and time spent together
          • Sexism
          • Utilitarianism
          • Lack of empathy
          • Unequal or unfair treatment
          • Disrespect towards boundaries
          • Control Issues
          • Jealousy
          • Verbal and physical abuse
          • Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse

          The link to productivity

          You may think a dysfunctional family has very little or nothing to do with personal productivity, but you would be wrong in thinking this way…

          If a person is not emotionally well, she will not be able to perform as desired, as the emotional harm that has been inflicted will hinder everyday performance in the way of inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and low levels of inspiration, motivation and discipline.

          Having a functional family does exactly the opposite: It creates productive members with no emotional baggage.

          How to turn it around

          When you’re part of a dysfunctional family you know it. You can quickly identify in other members the behaviors and conflicts that create the dysfunction.

          But just in case you’re having trouble telling functional from dysfunctional I will tell you the following:

          One of the easiest ways you can recognize if you are in a dysfunctional family is to survey your won feelings.

          We often overlook this, but have you stopped to ask yourself how you feel?

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          As cheesy as it may sound it really sheds a lot of light on the subject.

          What behaviors, actions and attitudes in your family you wish were better?

          Do you think certain behaviors and actions from your family marked you in the past?

          Sadly, we cannot go back to the past to correct it. But we can do a lot in the present…

          Correction is possible

          In order to fix a dysfunctional family, you must start by putting an end to the behaviors and actions that are affecting you.

          Verbalize it.

          All members of the dysfunctional family have one issue in common: They don’t put a stop to the harm.

          Whenever you feel your boundaries being overstepped there is just one single word you have to remember: STOP.

          This is the door to a better, more functional family, because after this, comes the fix.

          But first you have to identify and make others know where exactly lies the problem.

          So go ahead and fearlessly start with “Stop”, followed by your expression of dissatisfaction.

          Putting it to work in real life

          In real life it would be something like this:

          “OK, stop! Every time you belittle me I feel you don’t care. I need attention and respect, and it is your responsibility as my family to provide them to me”

          Or:

          “Stop. When you compare me with my cousin it hurts, I feel like I don’t matter and that’s not ok. I ask you to stop doing it.

          Or:

          “Please stop. When you start yelling all respect is lost and it turns into a battle of who can do it louder. Don’t raise your voice and let’s work this out the way humans do”.

          As you can see, here you start by putting a stop to the toxic behavior when it arises. And afterwards you verbalize why it’s wrong and what needs of you need to be fulfilled.

          This is what you have to remember:

          1-Stop.

          2-Why it’s wrong?

          3-What you need.

          And this will also work well in case you need to do it for another family member.

          It’s a family thing

          A dysfunctional family cannot be fixed by one member alone.

          Yes, a single member can initiate progress and be the leader of the change. But in order to completely become functional all members must contribute to the solution.

          In other words, you will need cooperation…

          So don’t be afraid of asking for it!

          Approach your family member and ask to be listened.

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          We sometimes feel our needs are “not that important” or we simply believe they won’t listen. But thinking like this would be like being defeated at an unfought battle.

          You will be amazed by how much people listen when you voice your needs, especially if it implies showing yourself open, vulnerable and in need.

          It’s not a free-for-all battle

          In order to get your family to cooperate, first you must fix your individual relationships with every member of the family. Remember: Relationships are always between two people, and two people only.

          No matter how complex, the quality of a multi-member relationship (like a family) will always depend on the quality of the individual relationships.

          Once you have straightened the relationship with every member of the dysfunctional family you will be able to better communicate with other members and help in the betterment of their individual relationship.

          And this is where we will talk about the fix itself. The one I mentioned in the introduction…

          The method

          1. Drop the ego

          Wherever there is conflict there is ego.

          You cannot fix a relationship where there is ego, because the ego will want to win. Always. Yours and the other person.

          Ego craves control and satisfaction, and in many cases, to establish dominance.

          What does this have to do with a dysfunctional family? Everything. Ego will interfere with every plan you have to fix it.

          It will make people suborn and defensive. And it will also make them drop responsibility. This is why, the first step is to drop the ego.

          After you make sure you are not going to allow your ego to interfere you must work to make the other person do the same. How? By speaking from the heart…

          Tell the other person how important all this is to you.

          Tell the other person that it’s not a matter of arguing, but just working things out together.

          Point out how it is not possible for you to do it alone.

          And ask for sincere attention without any desire of opposition, because what you are doing is by no means in the hopes of harming the other person, but just to better the relationship and stop the damage being dealt to you.

          You will have to point out the mistakes you need corrected, that’s for sure. And that leads me to the next point…

          2. Not blame, but responsibility

          When talking about others’ mistakes we often use an accusatory tone. And that’s natural, it’s what things should be like if ego was not present.

          But since we are all creatures of ego, this immediately brings the shields up. And then unsheathes the swords…

          When we blame others they automatically enter a defensive state, and this only leads to a failed negotiation.

          What you need to do is to shift from blame to responsibility. And even that will have to be done carefully!

          Instead of telling them off or demanding change or complaining, calmly point what the problem with their behavior is.

          As much as this feels contradictory, also make them feel understood. You know how difficult it is to accept a mistake, so just make them feel it’s no big fuzz… which does not mean it’s ok, but it takes tension off.

          You will do something like this:

          “Hello dad. Can I talk with you for a minute? I really need to tell you something.

          I have been feeling pretty sad lately and I know this is something you do care about.

          You see, whenever I talk about my accomplishments you mention something else that makes my achievement pale in comparison.

          I know you don’t do this intentionally and I know you might have not realized this until now, but I want to let you know this really brings me down.

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          It would mean a lot to me if you could stop doing it, and it would help better our relationship, because this has already forced me to distance myself from you. And I don’t want that, I want a good, healthy relationship with you”

          What happened here?

          We started off with making it something important, something that needs both time and attention. Then we openly show ourselves vulnerable, just as we are.

          We also mention why he should listen, and shove our feelings there again, because they are important.

          We describe the issue with no attachment and with no hostile intention. It’s just a description.

          And then we take the blame off. Just before we assign responsibility without actually saying it.

          You are not blaming him directly, but you are pointing out the inevitable fact that his actions are causing a dysfunctionality. He is now responsible for changing.

          This is what “switching blame for responsibility” means. What comes next? Doing the work!

          3. Doing the work

          What would any of this mean if, in the end, nothing changes? Exactly, nothing!

          This is why you must follow up with every change that needs to be done.

          Do so in a manner that is not hostile. Bring it up in a casual manner, and emphasizing how you both reached an agreement and how that is important to the family.

          If the person doesn’t follow up don’t hesitate to bring it up again, and tell them you feel disappointed that your honest try at it was not listened.

          It may even be a subject in itself, and therefore the need for another conversation.

          “When you go back to old habits it shows that you didn’t really care about what I said. But back in real life you just reinforce how much contempt you show towards me and my feelings.

          I talk with you because I care. Because although it would be easier for me to just distance myself from you I rather do my part in nurturing this relationship.

          But there is just so much I can do, if you refuse to do your part I can do nothing else.”

          You need very clear and positive communication in order to make this work.

          Love is all you need

          You must remember that in order for a dysfunctional family to become functional, all the work needs to stem from love.

          That is the single one requirement for all this to work: Love.

          And what happens if it simply is not there?

          What happens if, nobody is willing to do what it takes?

          What happens if a member of the family refuses to change and is happy with the harm he or she is dealing?

          There is only one thing you can do:

          To break away.

          Let’s be honest, people, especially adults, are very difficult to change.

          There is a Jewish proverb that I love, which sums it up like this:

          “We spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn what we learned before we were 7”

          If you find it very hard to change the very traits that make your family dysfunctional or if it’s simply impossible, you still have a card up your sleeve…

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          Although nobody likes to beak away from family members, we must remember we have a responsibility with ourselves as individuals, before any relationship with anyone.

          You have the responsibility of making yourself happy and free. Because you matter as an individual, regardless of any relationships you have, be it family, friendship or romantic.

          Putting distance

          So in case you are dealing with a family member who is simply unwilling to change take both physical and emotional distance.

          What do I mean?

          Learn, first, to take their damage in a detached manner.

          Don’t let it hurt you further. Instead take a deep breath and distance yourself emotionally.

          Don’t be attached to feelings such as “Why doesn’t she love me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” or “If he wasn’t like that my life would be perfect”.

          Simply refuse to keep participating in the emotional downward spiral and accept, even if it’s painful” that there is nothing you can do. Accept that even without that relationship you are whole, you are worthy of love and respect.

          They are their responsibility and you are yours. So decide what is best for you.

          Realize it only comes down to two possibilities:

          I keep the relationship and therefore accept the abuse. Or…

          I choose my peace of mind.

          And don’t let your mind fool you. We often think that since we all are imperfect, we must take the good and the bad behaviors of people. And we are especially forgiving towards our family…

          Well, guess what? We are also responsible adults who are aware and must own to their acts. Never excuse abuse or violence or transgression towards you or anybody else.

          Choose your happiness and if possible, also distance yourself physically, as it will increase your peace of mind tenfold.

          How to prevent it

          There are two key concepts you must bear in mind in order to prevent the dysfunctionality of a family:

          • To be completely aware of one’s own mistakes and not allow them to impact others and…
          • To make sure our SO’s are also on the same channel before creating a family (i.e. having children)

          Dysfunctional families are the product of irresponsible paternity, for the decades-long unresolved emotional conflict ends up surfacing in the family inevitably, and it will for sure harm those who least deserve it: Innocent children.

          You may notice we went from talking about family, to talking about individual relationships, to talking about you. We went from “them” to “us” to “me”.

          Why? Because in the end you have the power to fix a dysfunctional family. To correct the mistakes you have in yours and to prevent dysfunctionalities if you don’t have a family but plan to create one.

          Priorities and clear thought

          You may be part of a dysfunctional family, but that does not mean you are powerless or that you have to suffer the consequences.

          You learned today how it’s all a matter of priorities and thinking clearly.

          You learned that, if love exists, everything is possible. You learned that even when there is no love and no fix for your dysfunctional family, there are still things you can do. It’s a matter of choosing your peace, because you deserve it.

          Everything will be better if you apply this knowledge. If you talk to that problematic family member. If you help them see the harm they are doing. If you make sure they do change and treat you the way you need to be treated…

          If you choose yourself over that toxic family member. If you refuse to justify the harm that others can do to yourself. If you realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself.

          And lastly, that you also have to be aware of your actions and be open to criticism. Because we might be unknowingly harming others. And that would be us creating a dysfunctionality. Don’t allow it to happen.

          Dysfunctional families are not impossible to fix. It just takes love, cooperation and responsibility.

          But if you tried and those elements are not present, just choose yourself instead.

          Featured photo credit: Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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