Personality Differences at Work

Everybody has a different personality, and how others react to your personality can cause conflict, either verbally, physically, or emotionally. In some instances, a person’s personality is simply not compatible with the organization as a whole. In other instances, a person’s personality simply conflicts with that of team members. The fact that we all possess unique personalities is something that adds to the diversity of the organization.

Too often, we are expecting others to be just like us. When they fail to meet our expectations, we decide we don’t like to work with them. We may feel awkward or uncomfortable, or embrace the difference and gain an understanding for what we are unfamiliar with. Differences often broaden our perspectives and enrich our teams.

No two people are identical. Some of us move fast, talk quickly, and make spontaneous decisions. Others are more deliberate and prefer to process information before making a decision. Still others are people-oriented, or perhaps more task-oriented. Some are more analytical and detail-oriented while others tend to be big-picture thinkers. Utilizing each team members’ strengths can make for a highly effective team.

The best way to understand others is to become more self-aware. It is important to self-monitor our behavior. It can be healthy to seek out objective information about our behavior from others who care. When we understand ourselves and are at peace with ourselves, we have greater patience and understanding for others. The more self-aware we become, the more tolerant we will be of others.

Understanding differences does take additional time. Let us open our hearts to everyone. Opening our hearts to diversity is not always easy. When we don’t take things personally, we are in a better position to gain understanding and learn from each other. If we are aware of having a negative reaction to how someone interacted, it’s helpful to pause and examine what just happened. Seek clarification. Stay engaged. It’s often the case that the person simply has a way of interacting and viewing the world different from ours.

By:   Evangeline P. Bahian  
         Administrative Assistant III