Workplace Personality Conflicts: Seek Results Not Revenge

In a previous post on people skills for social media greatness, I warned against certain well-intentioned behaviors that can nonetheless offend and block success.

One reader commented that anyone can get offended — so it’s a wash. Turnabout is fair play, right? No, not really.

There are serious business consequences to employees seeking revenge instead of results. Perhaps the biggest consequence is missing out on what teams can achieve when they seek results not revenge.

Workplace Personality Conflicts: Seek Results Not Revenge Image by:

Workplace Personality Conflicts: Seek Results Not Revenge

The evil of isolation from distance or differences undermines the true potential of a team. Tugs-of-war over personality styles stifle the very instrument of success — communication. Leaders who realize the power of inspiring and coaching employees through personality conflicts, also realize great results and organizational success.

They untie this knot and replace the battles and tugs-of-war with a professional people-skills approach. These keaders address:

  1. Who does the adapting? Everyone. When employees approach you with issues of communication style differences, coach all to adapt to reach great results.
  2. Which personality type produces the best results in business? None of them. Business is complex involving people with different occupational views. These people have different personality and communication styles. It is the successful fusion of natural talents that delivers results.
  3. What is the difference between a tug-of-war and a lively disagreement of ideas? Tugs-of-war are not productive. Active discussions of differing views are. Tugs-of-war strive to maintain position to win. Active discussions explore and adapt to achieve a shared success. Teams and organizations succeed when employees adapt to and work with different communication styles not battle over which communication style is right! Strive to be excellent, not right.

The Questions That Transform
When communication style differences emerge, imagine the success possible with these questions:

  • What can I learn from this person?
  • How will I grow from working with this different style?
  • What results can we achieve through this diversity that we can’t without it?
  • How can I influence a slight change in the communication style that offends me while still respecting the person and advancing end results?
  • How can I best ask for respect of my style while still contributing to the end results?
  • What common ground do we have that we can celebrate and elevate for success?
  • How well does the leader model communication that captures the value of diversity?

High performing teams share an incredible desire for winning results. Revenge toward each other is not a motivator. They contribute their skills, knowledge and talent AND their flexibility and ability to turn diversity into the golden nugget of success.

How well are your teams doing?
Are they stuck in silent tugs-of-war over personality differences or easily tapping diversity to produce tremendous results?

I welcome your questions, comments and suggestions. Join the conversation! I am your resource and coach for turning interaction obstacles into business success.

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
People-Skills Secret Revealed for Introverts & Extroverts
Teamwork: Make an Apology Worthy of Acceptance

©2012 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish this post, please email Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into business success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

15 Responses to “Workplace Personality Conflicts: Seek Results Not Revenge”

  1. Cheri Essner says:

    Great article! I recently went to a meeting where a group of well established leaders got together to determine if their were ways that we could collaborate. Wow when it works it is amazing! I was blown away by the authenticity of everyone, the sharing and collaboration was amazing! As the discussions were taking place I sat back at one point and wished we had taped this.

    We need to keep striving to foster this environment! As I move forward with this new team, I am so excited about what we can accomplish when we work together!

    The interesting thing is I found out about this meeting 48 hours before it was scheduled due to technical difficulties. It was going to be on a Saturday 1 1/2 hours from where I live. I liked the agenda so I went and it turned into one of the most interesting refreshing days I have had in a long time!

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Cheri,
      I could feel the spirit of that room through your enthusiastic comment. This is where success thrives — in authentic collaboration. There is much you can do to keep it going:
      -Clarify never assume
      -When you are frustrated, search for the value
      -When spirits are low, celebrate talent

      Many thanks for your contribution here. Just reading your inspired me!

      Warmest regards,

  2. Khalid says:

    I can relate very much with Cheri’s comment. I’ve taken over (well so far not official but i’m running the show for now) a section in my IT department and I can see lots of politics running among the members of the team. I really need to have such a meeting to dissolve such barries within the team so we can start fresh.

    There is one guy who always conflict with my opinion. That guy is in competition with me to being promoted to my existing seat (supervisor of the section). His comments although sometimes annoying but I can see other times very helpful to me to add to my supervision arsenel. He is my friend and our competition is only at work so nothing personal but sometimes this gets so frustrated when it prolong! So your question Kate “•How can I best ask for respect of my style while still contributing to the end results?” is very important to keep in mind!

    Thanks for your great posts :)



    • Kate Nasser says:

      You are most welcome Khalid. The scenario you mention is quite common and important to handle. If I can be of direct assistance, feel free to email me!


  3. Jon Mertz says:

    Another great distinction to make, Kate. We are all unique by our nature, and we need to accept our differences. What helps keep engaging discussions rather than tugs-of-war is having the context understood. In other words, what are we trying to accomplish within the agreed to strategy? Now, if the context in which people are working is not agreed to, then there are bigger challenges to resolve. Getting the context right will help embrace our differences to make the work even more successful. Thanks for the great thoughts you deliver! Jon

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Exactly Jon. Context and shared vision/goals can keep communication flowing to success vs. stuck in a tug-of-war. When leaders embrace just how important meaningful communication is to team success, the results are remarkable.

      Many thanks,

  4. Terry says:

    I like the way you have differentiated between tug-of-war and lively disagreement over ideas. Most people are aware that teams have to learn how to have productive conflict as they develop. However, whether this conflict is a tug-of-war of a lively disagreement depends on the level of trust that has been built within the team. This trust depends on, as you have said, understanding how personality types differ and appreciating the different qualities.

    However, I have found that different personality types view conflict differently. What some people see as productive debate other people see as destructive arguing. I believe helping people see these differences is a key aspect of building trust in a team.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      I agree Terry .. personality types do see “conflict” differently. All the more reason for the leader to play an active role in building a culture of openness, understanding, and productive communication.

      Many thanks for this addition. Always grateful for contributions that expand the discussion.

      Warmest regards,

  5. Dylan Gannon says:

    This is an excellent article. A must read for anyone in a Leadership Position or Cross Functional Team.

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