Personality Clashes

by Long, John E. Tuesday, April 03, 2007
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Have you heard the following statement? People don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses! Have you had trouble relating to a supervisor, manager or boss, on occasion or on a routine basis? We spend a great deal of our time, a significant portion of our lives, in the workplace. Personality clashes with individuals in the work environment can be quite common. Although workers may share certain skills, interests, aptitudes and goals, their perception of the world around them is often quite different. Understanding personality preferences can offer some excellent insight into effective listening and communication techniques. And these techniques can enhance our relationships in the workplace.

When personality differences cause ripples in the workplace, what are some of the thoughts that run through our heads?

    My boss just doesn’t seem to get it!
    My supervisor doesn’t understand me!
    I wish my co-worker would see things from my point of view!
    Why won’t my team leader take the time to really listen to my ideas!
Are people in the workplace deliberately ignoring your needs? Probably not! Personality preferences might point to the answer. Some people prefer to deal with the absolute, what they can sense and experience; while others need to ponder the possibilities and the big picture. Some of us need to know how actions will impact people’s lives, while others will focus on the facts and figures.

There are many proven personality assessments being applied to the work environment. The information obtained from these assessments can offer individuals and employers some very valuable information for staff and organizational development. The process doesn’t end with the results of an assessment. Rather the results can represent the first step toward enhanced communication and understanding between individuals and throughout an organization. If you have taken a personality assessment, such as the MBTI® (Myers Briggs Type Indicator), revisit your results and ask your human resources (HR) manager if additional feedback is available from a qualified assessment specialist. If you have not had the opportunity to take a personality assessment, ask your HR manager if this may be available, as a staff development tool. You can also be pro-active and visit a career professional, such as a counselor or coach, to complete the MBTI and obtain a qualified interpretation.

Personality assessments can provide valuable feedback on the various dimensions of your personality type, as well as insight into the other types of personality we encounter, as we interact with people each day. The MBTI® instrument, for example, defines 16 distinct personality types. When an individual receives an interpretation of their MBTI® results, they are introduced to some very powerful information concerning the characteristics, preferences, strengths and challenges associated with their personality type. One distinct version of the MBTI® is the Career Report, which is often used to guide individual’s through a process of career exploration or career transition. The ultimate benefits to learning more about theories of personality and personality types may be the understanding and appreciation we gain for the people around us, as well as enhanced communication and relationships.