Interpersonal relationships between co-workers are one of the most important factors in any work environment--and personality conflicts are a leading cause of problems. If two people continually butt heads on work-related issues, it affects everyone around them.
Here are some tips on how to resolve personality conflicts in the workplace.
- Keep your calm and remain professional. If you do not get along with a co-worker, it is inevitable that a dispute will come up. If you are confronted by someone whom you do not get along with, try to remain calm. Don't point fingers or place blame, just let him say his piece. By remaining rational, you may be able to turn the tables on the situation. Ask questions to get to the root of the problem and vow to work together to make things right.
- Learn to work as a team. Many companies offer team-building workshops for their employees to avoid workplace conflict -- effective teamwork is an important part of any business! If your worst enemy is working on a project with you, use it as an opportunity to come together to get the job done. By sharing a positive experience with this person, you may be able to put some of those bad feelings behind you. Be open to the fact that there are many personality types out there and you will never get along with everybody, but you can learn to work together for the good of the company (and for the good of your career).
- Go through the proper chain of command. Conflict resolution strategies do not involve immediately running to the boss. If your co-worker screws up, don't go running to your boss with the news; but rather discuss the situation with the person first. It's also best not to bring up a faux pas during a group meeting--talk to the responsible party confidentially in lieu of going to upper management behind his back. By working through the proper chain of command you will avoid rubbing people the wrong way.
- Watch your tone in e-mails and written communications. Written communications can often be taken the wrong way so it is wise to hone your conflict resolution skills in the event you may need them. Make certain that the tone in your e-mails and memos comes across clearly--avoid sarcasm, which often doesn't come through well in e-mails. Also, avoid writing in all capital letters or with excessive exclamation points--this is what is known as screaming in an e-mail. Try to avoid petty e-mail exchanges with co-workers that you do not get along with--instead, try to talk face to face so you can both get a word in and hopefully resolve your issues.
- Contact your human resource department when necessary. Resolving conflict may at some point call for involving a third party. In extreme situations, a mediator may be needed to help diffuse heated work relations. Experienced human resource advisors are trained to help resolve personality conflicts, so let them do their job. Sometimes all it takes is an impartial third party to get to the root of the problem.
- Finally, don't let bad work relationships impact your career. Strive to work well with all personality types. This doesn't mean you have to go out to lunch with a co-worker whom you dislike, but you do have to work with that person, so make the best of it so you can all get your jobs done in a professional manner. The best solution for conflict resolution is to avoid it to begin with.