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Making Personalities Your Differentiator

People are uniquely different, but only through their thinking: nothing else should actually matter. Differences of opinion are the cornerstone of growth in a company, but sadly conflict can escalate to confrontation, and this causes a team to implode.

Good managers will ensure that this conflict remains healthy by guaranteeing it remains as a conflict or differences of opinion only. Managing different personalities can be the key to creating success in the workplace and creating a positive and innovative atmosphere.  But how do you achieve this? Here are four tips for managing personalities effectively:

First off, the FORMING phase.

In order for any team to move into the STORMING phase, they need to be able to have intelligent conversations with each other without belittling each other, throwing insults or backstabbing. There are many profiling systems, some simple and some complex, but in our situation, we use a simple DISC (Dominance, influence, steadiness and compliance) process which helps you as a manager understand the basics of:

  • The person’s two adaptive personalities and why they have these.
  • The predominant traits of their decision making, communication, planning, and motivation.
  • The compatibility of their work personality with the team and the team leader.
  • Areas to avoid and where their traits will add value
Beyond Teambuilding pride ourselves in creating events, activities and challenges that push any team past mediocrity, allowing them to express themselves in a way that unleashes a team synergy that is often lying dormant. Our teambuilding is done in two definitive ways; formal and informal. Both have merit and are used to create the specific objectives of your particular team’s needs.

This should be objectively discussed with the team member so that they are not fearful of its outcomes.

WARNING: don’t be fooled into recruiting only people similar to yourself or others. This will limit the team to YOU and do YOU know it ALL, can YOU do it ALL? You need difference. You need diversity in thinking as this generates creativity and innovation: the keys to growth.

Be prepared

People are creatures of habit. This means that they repeat patterns and behave in a predictable way. There are times when we want everyone on the same page, doing what is required as one, complying with managers or customers’ requests, but when it’s time for the flair to flow, we need difference. Be prepared for conflict as conflict is what you need to grow. A golden rule of dealing with conflict is:

  1. Address it quickly and independently
  2. Always start with a true positive statement, like “I really enjoy working with you” or “I really enjoy your creativity”. This will de-sensitise any aggression from the meeting.
  3. Then move into the issue that irritates you, the behaviour that upset you and explain why it upset Don’t blame the person for the action but try to get them to explain why they did what they did and LISTEN.
  4. Stress the need to find a way forward “as you want to continue working with his/her creativity”. Oftentimes they will give you the solution, and it will be your job to agree or support. Don’t go in trying to get your own way, be prepared to understand and find a compromise if necessary.
  5. Thank the person for their commitment and repeat what is agreed.

And remember: praise in public, criticise in private.

Be respectful

Most normal people want to be treated with respect. No matter your differences, show each member of your team the same level of respect and courtesy. People are more likely to respond with respect, towards you and their fellow team members, ensuring that everyone works together.  Respect individual differences and how people manifest their personalities- this will go a long way in creating team spirit and facilitating collaboration at work.

If you want to know more about your own colleagues and how they should be managed to promote working together, find DISC profiling, team climate surveying and facilitated training courses through our training division.

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