Tips for Getting Cooperation From Opposite Personalities in the Workplace
When running a business you will ideally be working with complementary personalities, and during the hiring process you can screen for qualities like attitude and fit within your organization. Even so, you still might wind up with two equally effective employees with personalities that don’t mesh very well. The ability of your business to function smoothly is contingent on employee cooperation, and when you need something to get done and must rely on your business’s version of the odd couple to take care of it, some management finesse may be in order. In general it is better to create a framework of cooperation that can help you avoid employee disputes, since taking the time to resolve an open conflict can be a serious time-sink.
Clearly delegate responsibility and stay open to communications. People will often begin to squabble when there is a lack of clarity surrounding what they are working on, which is why goal setting followed up by open communications is the key to getting two very different people to mesh well together. Being open to clarifying questions can help avoid them escalating into a problem should the employees you manage begin to fight about it, and serves as a method of preventing things from getting out of hand or not getting done. Accountability is the major trait that you should be trying to instill, since accountable employees work better and require less hands on management.
Play to the strengths of your team members. As your business grows, staying involved in the employee onboarding process will help you to gain a familiarity with the skillsets of each new addition, making it easier to pick people for projects who will naturally work well with each other and complement each other’s abilities. When you have two team members who have complementary skill sets, but don’t really get along, then you have to be a little bit creative to ensure that they keep things moving forward. Being goal oriented is good, and as things progress, pointing out how each team member’s work is complementary can help them to build a professional level of respect for each other.
Experiment with the best form of communication. While face to face communication is the most effective, in a small business it’s not always an option, ad calling in a meeting every week is most likely only going to make your team members more sick of each other, not less. The beauty of the digital age is that there are several methods of communication that employees can use, and the costs are usually not an issue. Email is the traditional choice, and not that it is usually available on mobile phones it can be a much faster and comprehensive form of communication than it used to be, but for more active remote teams, texting may be more pragmatic option given the expediency of the medium. Add to that skype calling, a slew of google tools, dropbox, basecamp and others, and you should be able to find a medium that allows two opposite employees to mesh.
Photo Credit to Leon Riskin on Flickr