How Can You Solve an Office Personality Clash?

Published on 14/09/2019

Sometimes people just don’t get along. There is nothing particularly wrong in terms of having done something to another person, and they probably haven’t even said anything out of turn, they simply don’t get along. 

On occasion, certain personalities just clash and there is nothing you can do to stop it. This is often two introverts butting heads, usually trying to compete for space to talk or supremacy, but it can also be an introvert and an extrovert who simply don’t understand each other. The ability to be able to handle these situations, both as an employee and a manager is vital if you want to ensure harmony in the office environment. 

The bottom line is that everyone has a different personality and whilst that is a good thing in general life, it can cause problems at work, when everyone is trying to compete for status. Whilst different personalities bring different ideas during collaborative sessions around the modern boardroom tables, it’s also important to understand how to deal with them in order to avoid saying or doing something which will cause offence. It’s impossible to know everyone’s personal quirks, but you can at least try and summarise the most obvious ones!

Check out this video which explains the 4 different personality types you may find in your office, and how to handle them.

So, now you know what the personality types are and you have some information on how to handle them, what can you do when a clash does occur? How should you handle it, to avoid inflaming the situation further?

How you deal with a clash such as this really depends on whether you’re in the middle of it, i.e involved, or whether you’re a manager. If you’re in the middle of it, it’s vital to understand that neither party is right or wrong, yourself included! You’re just different and that’s both a wonderful thing, as well as a bit of a curse in these situations. It can be difficult to bring that though to mind when you’re seething with anger or annoyance, but you need to remain calm!

Take yourself away from the office chairs and seek out some solace for a short while, even if it’s just five minutes. Breathe and focus on the inhalation and exhalation, to help you to calm down. By doing that, you’re able to gain clarity. We would hope that the other person is doing the same thing. After that, when you’re feeling in control and calm, approach the person and ask if you can have a quick word. Simply explain that you are two different personalities and you’re going to clash sometimes, but that it shouldn’t affect your working relationship. Give them a pat on the back by saying that your respect your differences and you should work together to make them into a positive, rather than a negative.

By doing this, you’re taking the high road and being the bigger person - always a good thing!

If you’re a manager, dealing with a personality clash can be difficult. You need to monitor the situation and let your employees try and work it out between themselves first. By being heavy-handed and stepping in before it is really necessary, you could escalate the situation. Remember, this isn’t a conflict in that something has happened, it’s a clash of personalities who don’t agree. There is a very subtle difference and as a result, you need to deal with it in a subtly different way. You can’t use heavy-handed techniques when it’s simply the fact that personalities aren’t matching as you would like! 

If they don’t manage to sort it out, it might be worth looking at your office desking system and seeing if there is any way you can move things around to make life easier. Of course, understanding the different personalities in your office will help you to manage this problem far easier too. 

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