Working with different personalities

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Working with a diverse team can be incredibly rewarding, adding immense depth and insight to your collaboration. Working with different personalities can also be challenging. Even in the healthiest of workplaces, personality clashes inevitably arise due to differences in communication, leadership style or personal opinion. Whether you own a business, manage one or are employed by one, knowing how to manage a team with different personalities is critical. When you know how to deal with different personalities in the workplace, you’re able to achieve your goals, maintain your peace of mind and create a company culture that’s representative of your brand.

Tips for working with different personalities

Collaborating with different personalities is a skill and an art. Implement the following tips to develop the “soft skills” you need to interact with others productively.

1. Respect yourself.

Self-respect is a precursor to self-awareness. When you understand and value yourself, your perspective and skill set, you’re able to engage others with equal respect. With a solid base of mutual respect, you’re able to handle conflicts successfully.

2. Prioritize shared goals.

When you’re working on how to deal with different personalities in the workplace, your team’s shared goals are the ultimate unifier. You’re all on the same team – this is what’s behind the concept of “team players.” Working as a team doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your opinion to avoid rocking the boat or back down from coworkers who are more dominant or assertive than you. Working with different personalities just means prioritizing your ultimate purpose.

3. Don’t take conflict personally.

When conflicts arise in working with different personalities, it can feel personal. When someone disrespects you or dismisses your input, it’s valid to feel hurt. But don’t take their behavior personally. They behave the way they do because of their own issues, not because of your character. Creating a bit of space between yourself and others’ behaviors goes a long way in mastering how to manage a team with different personalities.

4. Embrace what others bring to the table.

When you’re working with different personalities on the job, it’s easy to spot the difficulties your differences create. What’s less obvious is how your differences can enhance collaboration. To create cohesion, you’ll need to intentionally seek out the upside of your colleagues’ personalities. If you find a coworker to be aggressive, also consider that this person’s directness allows for a clear exchange of information. If you find a coworker to be overly passive, consider that this person may be trying to demonstrate empathy.

5. Don’t be afraid to handle conflicts directly.

Part of learning how to manage a team with different personalities is leaning into interpersonal conflict. If there’s a dispute, don’t be afraid to confront it directly. As uncomfortable as this may feel at first, it’s far better than letting the issue fester. When you learn how to handle workplace conflicts, this skill sets you apart as an empathetic and effective leader.

How to manage a team with different personalities

Understanding how to manage a team with different personalities is a skill that’s relevant for managers and employees alike. Put the following strategies to use to realize your team’s full potential:

Get to know each person on your team

The more you understand each person you have on staff, the more efficient your team is. Take time to interact with each employee to build high-quality relationships. And make use of personality testing – a powerful tool for working with different personalities.

Understand each role in your company

Part of knowing how to manage a team with different personalities is knowing what strengths each role requires. If a team member’s role is client-facing, that person will need to have extroverted personality traits. If a role is heavily technical, that person will need to be a natural problem solver. When you understand what is asked of each role, you can hire strategically, incorporate complementary personalities into a team and reduce friction when working with different personalities.

Model empathetic communication

Great leaders lead by example, especially when they’re mastering how to manage a team with different personalities. Demonstrate effective teamwork by tailoring your own communication to the person you’re interacting with. If you know they tend to be soft-spoken, be extra sensitive when conversing with them. If they tend to be very direct, approach the conversation with equal directness.

Build a corporate culture of respect

When personality differences breed disrespectful behavior in the workplace, the results are toxic. A study of nearly 800 employees and managers across 17 industries found that when staff was treated poorly at work, 47% intentionally decreased the amount of time they spent on the job, 38% decreased the quality of their work and 78% reduced their company loyalty. If an employee has a habit of disrespecting others, this is a personal problem you must nip in the bud to master how to manage a team with different personalities. Take proactive measures to shape a culture of respect that reflects your business’s core values.

Working with different personalities is a challenge that can transform your experience on the job. Get the support you need to collaborate effectively with Tony Robbins’ Mastering Influence, your resource for effective communication in the workplace and beyond.


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