Throughout your career you’ll build professional relationships with a LOT of different personality types, and some of those personalities will be very different from yours. And that’s ok! Different perspectives allow for more creative problem-solving, thoughtfulness, and innovation...but, that doesn’t mean you won’t clash with someone from time to time.
So, what should you do when you are having a hard time dealing with another personality, whether they are a co-worker, vendor, or even a member? Use our four steps to overcome that personality clash so you can get back to your mutual goal of serving your mission:
Step 1: Listen Deeply
First step: Stop, breathe, and listen. This may sound simple but even the best of us forget that sometimes we just need to be in the present moment to get a grasp of the situation. When you are listening, it’s important to remember that sometimes it’s easier for people to describe something in one way but really mean something else entirely. You can help this confusion by making sure to let others speak without interruption so that they can have the time and space they need to clearly get their point across.
Step 2: Use SMART Responses
When it’s your turn to respond, try and provide SMART feedback (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound). This format allows you to speak objectively and maintain a level-headed approach that will, hopefully, clear the other person’s head from thinking on the defense. Also, be sure to try and speak from your own experiences so they know that you can relate to their point of view.
Step 3: Consider Documenting Everything
When a relationship is affecting your job performance or simply not getting any better, it may be time to consider documenting your mutual experience. While you don’t want your professional relationship to come to tit for tat, it’s important to have a paper trail to prevent any kind of potential mess if there is a misunderstanding. Whenever possible, try to have your correspondence in writing - or at least make a note while an interaction is fresh in your mind.
Step 4: What Are The Consequences?
Staying calm will always work to your best advantage, even if something is really getting under your skin. We recommend going back to the basics and focus on taking those deep breaths, especially if you think you might get a little heated. At the end of the day, it’s just not worth it! After all, chances are you’re working toward the same goal.
Hopefully these tips will help you overcome any tense moments in the future! They’re inevitable, unfortunately - but you can help your organization be proactive with a solid staff onboarding process. By setting expectations from the start of a colleague’s tenure, you’ll build a strong foundation for your entire staff to feel supported and heard. Download our free guide to get started on YOUR staff onboarding process!