Focus On Roles Rather Than Personalities To Reduce Conflicts At Work

Focus on Roles Rather Than Personalities to Reduce Conflicts at Work

Conflicts with coworkers are inevitable. Organisational psychologist Ben Dattner suggests examining job responsibilities instead of personalities to find ways of working together.

Photo by Sonny Abesamis

Companies often use personality tests to see if people are compatible, either during the interview process or on the job. Sometimes, though, the dynamics of the job role are the problem — not the people, as Dattner notes:

Ask and discuss the question: "If it weren't the two of us in these roles, what conflict might be expected of any two people in these roles?" For example, if I'm a trader and you're in risk management, there is a fundamental difference in our perspectives and priorities. Let's talk about how to optimise the competing goals of profits versus safety, and risk versus return, instead of first talking about your conservative, data-driven approach to decision making and contrasting it to my more risk-seeking intuitive style.

Check out more tips for dealing with workplace conflict by following the link.

Most Conflicts Aren't Due to Personality [Harvard Business Review]


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