How to Address Personality Clashes

by Melody Dawn

Most people spend a big part of their day at work, dealing with a wide range of personalities. Because workplaces are made up of so many different types of people, personality clashes are inevitable. These clashes can occur between management and employees or between peers. When a personality clash occurs, it's best to address the conflict immediately to avoid constant stress while at work.

Address the Issue

Personality clashes can occur for a number of reasons, ranging from simple irritation with a co-worker's habits to something much deeper, like a fundamental difference in philosophy. Regardless of the reason, frequent personality clashes can have a negative effect on your work and morale, so it is important to address the issue. Try approaching your co-worker in private and be honest about the situation. For example, explain to her that you get distracted when she sings to herself all the time. Maybe she could sing softer, or you could wear earplugs. Be kind and courteous, but get the personality clash out in the open. The other person may not even realize she is irritating you. Keep communication lines open and try to find a middle ground you both can live with.

Request a Move

If talking to your co-worker doesn't resolve the problem, ask your supervisor if you can move to another location in the office or be put on a different team. Sometimes just putting physical distance between yourself and the problem is the best solution. Make sure that the conversation is just between you and your boss, and be honest about your reason for requesting the move. Explain that it's a personality clash, and not a matter of anything the other worker did wrong.

Maintain Privacy

Avoid trying to enlist coworkers to your side of the argument. According to "Psychology Today", the more you bond over the negative, the bigger the negative will become. Keep your talks private, and don't spread rumors. You will only make the situation worse if the other person feels you are talking about her behind her back.

Pick Your Battles

If the personality clash involves something out of your control, it's best to just keep your frustration to yourself and focus on your work. If one of your coworkers has an annoying laugh, for example, there's not much you can do to change it. So do your best to ignore it. Make the decision that this is not a battle you want to fight. Focus on your own job and the task at hand. If you complain over petty things, you will only sound whiny and unprofessional. When someone's tics or quirks annoy you, focus on her strengths and positive contributions to help you deal with it.

About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Melody Dawn has been writing business articles and blogs since 2004. Her work has appeared in the "Gainesville Times," "Player's Press" and "USA Today." She is also skilled in writing product descriptions and marketing materials. Dawn holds a Master of Business from Brenau University.

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