Breadcrumbs - Site Navigation

Dealing with conflict

Question:  “As a manager, I am constantly amazed at the difficult personalities that I deal with on a daily basis.  Can you help me understand and deal with them?”

Often people are hired because they bring a unique perspective to the organization.  However, in addition to their skills, they also have distinctive personalities, and some of these are difficult to get along with.  We all may recognize the following: 

Question on negative people: “I have an employee who seems to delight in being a naysayer.  Although he is an excellent worker, and I would hate to lose him, his negative personality has an adverse effect on the team.  What should I do? 

Labeling the individual or their personality as the problem limits our options to firing them because we cannot fundamentally change the lifetime of conditioning that created their personality.  Therefore, the first step in dealing with negativity is shifting our thinking to focus on the problem behavior, not the person.  

A workplace where people work together for a common interest, the good of the organization, is a healthy and productive environment.  However, most people have stories about those difficult co-workers who wreak havoc on that collaborative atmosphere.  Clarifying perceptions of why people demonstrate these behaviors is the first step to dealing with them.