Conflicts in the workplace are nothing new. When handled appropriately, conflicts often produce some of the best work. But when communication exchanges become toxic and disruptive and lead to poor decision making – then it’s a real issue and needs to be addressed.
To those leaders who appreciate the importance of understanding how to manage behavioral differences – good for you; your business is probably flourishing. For leadership that has no understanding and, in my experience, very often even promotes conflict in the belief that competitiveness is healthy and pushes individuals to perform more effectively – you’re missing a business building opportunity.
Behavior differences not understood at best and left unmanaged at worst can inhibit performance, cause unnecessary conflict and will only deteriorate if left alone.
People before numbers
I’ve worked in the corporate and government world for many years and it always bothers me as a consultant when a CEO cites issues such as, teams not aligned, communication problems, incessant complaining to supervisors, lack of business progress and so on.
Business is all about people. Whether they are your customers or your staff. Most conflict within and involving people revolves around unfulfilled needs:
- Decision making – I want to make them. I want you to make them.
- Communication – I’m expressive and want to talk. Im reflective and don’t want to talk.
- Structure – I like order. I’m a free spirit.
- Trust – Approach me, I’m an open book. I’m suspicious of your motivation.
- Opportunities – Let’s go for it. I play it safe.
If we have no insight into these basic differences we should not be surprised when there is conflict or that teams can’t work effectively together, worse still, when customers get frustrated and sales are lost.
There is no magic wand to resolve behavioral differences, but there is a significant behavioral insight tool that can reveal individual unique behaviors. Armed with this insight, leaders can use the data to prevent unproductive and negative behavior that leads to conflict.
Most CEOs are frustrated with unmanaged behavioral issues and tend to push those off to HR to deal with or call in a consultant, like me, to make the issues go away. In reality, the starting point for a CEO should not be flicking issues off to HR, but to invest in getting to know their own behavior. That is always my starting point.
It never ceases to amaze me how impressed C-suite members are when they invest 10 minutes to understand their own inherent behavior. Suddenly they are sharing insights with each other – they have significant a-ha moments – they get why colleagues behave or react the way they do. More importantly, there is a genuine willingness to get below the surface in terms of how best to work together, and they make comments such as:
- Will you let me know when I say something that belittles you?
- Let’s have coffee together and figure out a better way to run our departments.
- I see now why all my detail frustrates you – I’ll cut to the bottom line.
- I understand you need time to reflect and think things through – I get it now.
As a consultant called to sort out people messes, always make sure you engage the leadership in understanding their behavior first. It will make dealing with their company problems much more effective.
Reconciling the differences that will undoubtedly exist between leadership will work toward resolution of wider issues in the organization.
One of the secrets of dealing with workplace behavioral differences is to have a clear journey for each individual. It’s more than a high-level vision; it’s the vision for the individual and how their contribution fits into the whole. When inherent behaviors are known, designing this pathway is likely to bring greater results.
Leverage our know-how
We provide organizations with a plug-in solution, so they don’t have to reinvent the wheel. If you are thinking, we need to address the behavioral differences in our business, feel free to rely on my knowledge and experience, not to mention the knowledge and experience of all my colleagues and our tools.
You can deploy us and our ‘behavioral chip” – DNA Behavior’s API - within your organization and quickly begin solving significant relationship, productivity and decision-making challenges. Imagine: Validated, scalable, practical solutions. Real insights for real results in real time.
Knowing yourself is the single most important 10 minutes you can invest in yourself.
Complete the DNA Behavior Natural Discovery for no-cost and no-obligation. You’ll ultimately get a one-page infographic report with actionable insights. Now, imagine everyone within your organization gaining such insights. THAT’s the kind of bottom-line difference I’m touting.