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Managing a Team of Conflicting Personalities

 

Conflict in the workplace leads to a drop in productivity. A manager must be able to manage conflicting personalities and turn them into a productive team. You may be thinking, “That’s easier said than done!” True, but with the following tips, you can be successful at managing a team of conflicting personalities.

It’s an Opportunity, Not a Problem

Perspective can either help a situation, or make it ten times worse. When a conflict arises, try to think of it (and encourage your employees to think of it) as an opportunity rather than a problem. Anthropologist and conflict resolution specialist, Aldo Civico Ph.D., explains, “This attitude allows for exploration and creativity, and it can open the path toward transformation and change.” How can you adjust your mindset to tackle conflicts in a positive way? It helps to think of past conflicts, and see how working through them led to positive changes. Remember, conflict is a natural part of working together, and it is our choice whether we experience it as a growth experience or as a storm that needs to be waited out.

Remain Calm and Neutral

When employees butt heads, you may find yourself naturally drawn to one side of the argument. Your own personality may be more similar to Employee A, but that doesn’t mean you should automatically disregard Employee B’s point of view. Keep a level head when conflicts arise, and remember that every employee needs to feel their voice is being heard. Personal preference should not be a factor when you are mediating disputes. Your job is to do what’s best for the team’s morale – and productivity.

Talk One-on-One

Oftentimes our instinct when managing conflicts will be to either A) avoid the conflict, or B) bring all the parties together to work out a solution. Steve M. Cohen, Ed.D., CMC, the president of Labor Management Advisory Group, advises against both of these paths when he writes, “Unless the combatants have a high degree of emotional intelligence and maturity, initially encouraging them to meet or bringing them together as you oversee the process usually won’t work to fix things. Ignoring the situation will not help because things will only get worse through neglect.”

His solution? Shuttle diplomacy. This means that you, as the manager and mediator, should meet with the conflicting parties individually to hear them out. This will help prevent the conflict from escalating further, since it will not allow the combatants to devolve into a shouting match. Rather, it allows you to determine the truth of the situation, keep a clear mind, and understand everyone’s needs.

The first step in managing conflicting personalities is to understand those personalities. So, before conflicts arise, take time to get to know your employees and what makes them tick. Then, when conflicts do arise, follow the three steps above to successfully navigate this delicate situation.

If you’re looking for like-minded employees to fill out your team’s ranks, let Aventure help. Contact us today to learn more about our expert Staffing Services.

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