Are some teams just destined to clash?

We’ve all been there. Being put into team of very different minded people. As much as you try and get on, you find yourself in endless disagreements and little squabbles, all leading you back to square one.

Productive teamwork is a key determiner of organisational performance. Businesses rely on teams to contribute effectively to business ideas. But let’s face the facts. Some people are just not meant to work together. Either they have different work styles — one person trying to work as quickly as they can and the other taking their time, being more attentive to detail, or background differences which can cause people to view situations from different perspectives. People from very different backgrounds may find it hard to relate to others and this affects interaction in the workplace.

But the main root of conflict is the clash of personalities. Psychology traits described personalities as the ‘wild card of the workplace’. Personalities are traits that make us unique and distinguish how we act in certain situations. It’s what makes one person pretty calm in a stressful situation and another lose their cool.

Psychology Today gives some pretty good advice on how to deal with your next personality conflict

  • Don’t go looking for people that agree with you. Yes it’s reassuring when someone takes your side but this puts you in a bad light. You don’t want all your team members thinking that you are ‘out to get’ anyone.
  • Focus on the good stuff. Yeah your team might be difficult, but praise anyone’s contributions and ideas. It’ll go a long way, trust me.
  • Don’t be the centre of conflict. If you know that there is someone in the group who you are inevitably going to clash with then stay out of the way.
  • Put yourself in other people’s shoes. How are they seeing you? Are you coming across as rational and approachable? No one likes to be in a team where others don’t listen to what you have to say.

A lot of organisations preach the importance of team building in order to build team trust and encourage interaction but sometimes teamwork exercises aren’t the cure. The Telegraph explains how in a survey carried out on over 1000 British employees, 54% feel that these activities are a waste of time, only leading to embarrassment. So it’s been proven, those awkward ice breaker exercises that your employer makes you endure at the beginning of a team formation are pretty much useless. So maybe it’s best to just leave nature take its course, spare colleagues the embarrassment of being pushed together and let them form their own relationships in their own time. Maybe this is the key to a successful team?

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