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Personality Clashes at Work? A Real Challenge for New Leaders

personality clashesAs a new leader, personality clashes and conflicts are not uncommon. They may be something you find you have to deal with frequently. Disputes between team members create a toxic work environment. Leading a team of people involves being able to observe how they interact and work together. If personalities are pleasant, the results are usually good. But, when personality clashes occur, they must be addressed before they negatively impact other members of the team.

Unique Personalities Create Personality Clashes

Your personality is unique to you alone. Moulded by your experiences and shaped by your interactions with those around you, you have a distinct set of behaviours. Some of these behaviours are beneficial, and some sabotage your best efforts. As human beings, we are all made up of a mixture of both positive and negative traits. It’s more straightforward to build rapport and mutual understanding with people who are like ourselves. It’s equally as easy to blame the other party for the negative impact they have on our own state of mind.

Your relationships are affected by your unique personality just as much as the personality of the people you interact with. Sometimes it feels natural to relate to someone and understand their motivations and behaviours. Sometimes personality clashes and conflicts occur more. The dynamics of relationships are like a soup you make by throwing in all the ingredients from your cupboard. Sometimes the result is great, but sometimes the ingredients don’t work together. Then the result is less enjoyable!

If you notice sparks flying between individual members of your new team regularly, it’s time to take action. You may feel uncomfortable dealing with these conflicts initially, but remind yourself that leadership is not a popularity contest. To be a great leader, you must take serious responsibility for developing and guiding the full potential of the individuals you manage.

If you’re new to dealing with these issues, try our tips to help resolve personality conflicts in the workplace.

Resolving Personality Clashes


It’s almost impossible to identify personality clashes if you’re never in the same room as your team. If you can, spend time observing how your staff work together. If you suspect conflict, try to identify behavioural tendencies that appear to provoke negativity in others or affect overall morale.ย 

Sometimes it’s simply not an option to spend a great deal of time with your team. Then you can use performance reviews or private chats with individuals. Ask their opinion on team dynamics and how they feel about working with their colleagues.ย 


Arrange coaching sessions if you identify personality clashes. It’s vital not to add fuel to the fire, so ensure you don’t point the finger at either individual involved. Both parties bear some responsibility for genuine personality clashes.ย 

Either talk to the individuals involved or introduce coaching for your entire team on dealing with workplace conflicts. Conflict resolution is an opportunity to inspire personal development for all those involved.


If coaching fails to work, it’s your responsibility to make sure the conflict doesn’t affect the rest of your team. However, sometimes it’s almost impossible to persuade certain people to make a real effort to get along with someone they clash with.

It may be possible to re-organise teams or suggest departmental re-shuffles. Look at the strengths of the people involved and decide if you need to make changes to your team structure.

Personality clashes are widespread in the workplace, but their negative impact can’t be underestimated. It’s never easy to deal with people who are emotionally involved in a stressful situation. However, it’s vital to the success of your team and the future of your organisation that you do so.

At Illumine, we have multiple courses that support effective leadership. From ourBuilding High Performing Teamscourse to learning and applying skills that enable you to initiate, execute and manage change effectively as a leader, we’ve got you covered.

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