Project Management

Fixing Personality Clashes

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In an earlier post here I talked about the basics of personality clashes, and how they begin with differences of agreement in content and progress to differences in the behaviours used to try to remedy the disagreement. 

The more extreme the differences in behaviour, the higher the tension rises, and the more emotions come into play, ultimately producing a full-blown personality clash.

If you are in one of these “clashes”, here are some practical steps you can take:

  1. Separate the content from the behaviour so that you can deal with each separately.
  2. Accept that they are using behaviour that is different from the behaviours that you would use. And, there may well be a reason for their choice of behaviour!
  3. Notice how your behaviour may be contributing to the difficulty. If you are struggling to accept their behaviour, they will be struggling to accept your behaviour too.
  4. Decide if you wish to simply accept their behaviour (at present) and dive into the content, or decide to adapt your behaviour - yes, so you are more like them.
  5. Take steps to help them also separate content from behaviour (perhaps apologising for the way you may have aggravated them).
  6. Try to find a way to truly appreciate their choice of behaviour, even if you still don’t like it (which is okay, that’s your right). This will make it far easier for you to live with without stressing about it.
  7. Attempt to build more trust into the relationship. This will help both of you to understand and accept both content and behaviour differences, and focus more on solutions (win/win).

The bottom line is that the only time personality differences are a problem, is when they are not recognised and accepted. There is no need to agree with their behavioural choices for you to accept their choice. And, if you have sufficient levels of trust, you’re on to a winner.

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Posted on: October 18, 2019 09:00 AM | Permalink

Comments (6)

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Dear Colin
Interesting your perspective on this topic
Thanks for sharing
There are conflicts of a normative nature, that is, one part tries to impose on the other part ways of being, ways of behaving and ways of thinking.
On the other hand, one party can use its behavior to influence the other party.
Behavior breds behavior.
A question:
Can all people separate the subject from the behavior?

Personality clash is something which i often encounter as leader in my organization. While we ensure that we hire team members who have strong knowledge and skills required for the roles, thier personality is something we may not be able to guage during the hiring process (everyone brings their best-self to the table during the interview). It's only when situations arise on the job do we see the personalities emerging.
I have been using various strategies in enabling the team members to handle their emotions and understand stakeholder behaviour.
This article has definitely added to my understanding which will enable me to understand and handle personality clashes better.

Wonderful advice for fixing personality clashes. Thank you!!

Interesting perspective thank you. Sometimes in scenarios where trust was sought but never reciprocated, if one ignores rest and acts on context alone yes gets the job done but won’t solve the root cause (in this case trust) allowing continuous spiral of unhealthy practice in my view.

Is interesting the way that you describe the steps to solve clashing personality. In my view I would add one more point 8 - promoting contact points, focusing on those points to promote understanding. There are always common bridges of understanding between different personalities, we just have to find out which ones.

Thank you for sharing and providing best practices. I like that you mentioned about looking at yourself and practice changes from within. How could a person expect the other to change if your not.

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