Resolving Workplace War By Understanding Personalities
Written by Kaveh Mir
Workplace war is one of the leading causes of lost productivity.
Think about it. Most of us spend more time in the workplace than we do with our families. And work is a primary source of anxiety. If you throw workplace conflict into the mix, stress levels only escalate. Our personal relationships suffer. We experience emotional and mental distress, which can even deteriorate into illness. And if conflict at work is allowed to continue unchecked, the result is huge amounts of wasted efficiency and lost productivity, which in turn damages companies, the economy, and our whole society.
But there’s hope. We can learn to resolve wars at work and live peaceful, happy, productive lives.
How? By learning to understand the differing personalities of ourselves and others, recognising and accepting those differences, and applying that understanding to developing solutions that satisfy everybody.
Most business leaders fail to anticipate the struggles, control issues, and negative social interactions that result when various work styles and personalities are thrown together. Yet the majority of conflict - whether at work, home, school, or any other place people interact - can be resolved just by learning to understand ourselves and others better. It may sound simple, but it works.
For the past 15 plus years, I’ve used psychometric personality measures to help individuals and companies end workplace wars and find peaceful ways to work together. Recently I published a book titled Wars at Work, which brings several of these measures into one place to serve as actionable tools for achieving workplace harmony.
Personality assessments are designed to tell us how people are likely to behave and feel in a given situation. Analysing individuals’ results on these measures can help improve communication, relationships, teamwork, decision-making, leadership, learning, career decisions, and more. These analyses form a practical conceptual framework within which to solve workplace conflicts constructively. For starters, it’s important to recognise that no specific personality type or quality is better (or worse) than another. We all have special gifts to bring to the table.
Most people have little or no training in how to deal with conflicts effectively. When managers go shopping for help, they’ll find lots of resources that focus on a single measure to explain personality differences. But in Wars at Work, my aim was to bring together several measures to show how workers can complement each other and work in tandem. Thus you can build a toolkit of instruments that can help solve many problems before they even arise.
A few of the measures described in Wars at Work - measures I am trained and certified to administer - include the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF), the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, the Learning Styles Questionnaire, the Occupational Personality Questionnaire, the Career Anchors Profile, and the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO). Using real-world scenarios, each chapter in the book outlines a problem and then offers insights, strategies, and action steps toward dealing with those problems positively.
My goal in writing Wars at Work was not only to help people begin to recognise and understand the behaviours of others, but also to encourage reader interest in training to become professionals in personality administration themselves.
Battle is never inevitable. War is always a choice. And anyone can learn to make better management and teamwork decisions by understanding the personalities that make up a workplace. Such positive steps can result in the clarification of workplace roles, increased respect among colleagues, and a dynamic, successful organisational environment.
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