India-First-Global-Insights-Analysis -Sharing-PlatformIndia-First-Global-Insights-Analysis -Sharing-Platform

Conflicting personalities-a reason for Workplace Conflict

, November 23, 2012, 1 Comments

Leaders can resolve workplace conflict by understanding the different personalities they work with. Understanding whether leaders work with a turtle, shark, fox, owl or teddy bear can lead to effective performance and higher employee engagement.A leader’s responsibility is to create an environment which employees find conducive and motivating to thrive. A toxic environment leads to absenteeism, loss in productivity, turnover and employee burnout. Now, as a transformational leader, you want the best for yourself and your fellow workers right? Thus, it becomes a leader’s responsibility to resolve workplace issues or a term better known as conflict resolution.There are many personalities that come together under one roof at a workplace. And a personality clash is one of the reasons for workplace conflict. Workplace conflict exists in all organizations. It is unavoidable. Reasons cited for workplace conflict are egos, mismatched personalities, workload and poor leadership.It is estimated that, 25% of a manager’s time is spent resolving conflict. A better use of the leader/ manager’s time than conflict resolution could mean higher productivity and a happier workplace.According to me, the following approaches can be followed by a leader to solving conflict at the workplace:

Know yourself

This approach includes knowing yourself in and out. We spoke about Daniel Goleman and emotional intelligence last week.  The components of emotional intelligence include self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill.

The first and foremost component of self-awareness or ‘knowing yourself’ is most important. There are further three components towards knowing yourself viz: Emotional awareness, self-confidence and knowing your strengths and weaknesses. So, go ahead do these personality tests to know yourself better.

Know others

Every leader should get their team members to assess their personality types. This could be later circulated to other team members (with prior permission of course!). This helps team members understand each other, why certain team members behave the way they do and how best to utilize each other’s personality type to the team and organization’s advantage.

There are lots of tools to understand your personality type. You can try any one or all of these. They are fun to do and can help you discover yourself. I have listed those I have done. There may be more out there…

Hearts, Smarts, Guts &Luck


The value of honest and transparent communication cannot be emphasized enough. The language used, the tone and non-verbal communication used, can make or break a team/organization. To communicate effectively- know yourself and your colleagues well as mentioned above

Conflict resolution is not easy.

A leader has to be aware of the various conflict resolution styles according to the background culture that a person belongs to. With globalization being the norm, it becomes important for a leader to know conflict management styles across cultures.

Here is an interesting snapshot of the various conflict management styles across the globe.

Leaders can organize for mediators or agencies handling workplace conflicts but when there are tools and approaches at hand, leaders must first try these and then mediators can get involved when there is absolute necessity.

Whether you are starting your career or you are an executive at the far end of the career ladder, you can become a great leader and person, by knowing your personality type/traits and by building on your strengths and repairing your weaknesses.

By recognizing the various personalities in your organization or team helps you lead and manage better, all leading to greater employee engagement and higher performance. As a leader, you can encourage your team mates to recognize their strengths and work on their weaknesses.

Do you know your workplace personality  type?  Can you say whether you are a fox, owl, turtle, shark or teddy bear? Or maybe ISTJ, ENTF or INFP?

How has knowing your personality type helped you or helping you?

[1] Asian Journal of Management Research, Vol 1 Issue 1, 2011
Anu Singh Lather, Dean, University School of Management Studies, GGSIPU, Delhi
Shilpa Jain, Assistant Professor, University School of Management Studies, GGSIPU, Delhi
Anju Dwivedi Shukla, Research Scholar, University School of Management Studies, GGSIPU, Delhi