Personality Conflict

In an average working week, people can spend a really long time together. Some working relationships can become strained when you incorporate long hours; working in close proximity; work stress; and, most commonly, the differences between people. If everyone were the same, work would probably run smoother, almost robotic. But, with all the different personalities bubbling up in the workplace, it produces much more creativity and diversity.

Although we need to embrace our differences, some staff members can find each other’s personalities distasteful. It’s just normal that not everyone is going to be your cup of tea. With this in mind, you should always maintain 100% professionalism, even if they do not.

Personality clashes are often the biggest cause of conflict in the workplace. These types of conflict are often ignited by emotions or perceptions about somebody else's motives and character. For example, a team leader jumps on someone for being late, because she views the team member as being lazy and disrespectful. The team member sees the team leader as ‘out to get him’ because he isn't 'in the clique’.

Let’s have a look at different types of co-worker dysfunctions that you might come up against in the workplace.



We've all met an arrogant person at work - the one who considers themselves superior, makes condescending remarks to tear others down, or refuses to admit their own mistakes. When an arrogant person is in a power position, the team can become fearful and resentful; and growth, productivity and creativity suffer.

Here are some examples of arrogance in the workplace:

  • Habitually putting people down in order to make themselves feel better, or above everyone else.

  • Blatant disregard for the feelings of others, showing lack of maturity and emotional intelligence.

  • Foul language, short-sightedness, and lack of tact.

Dealing with arrogant people takes a lot of patience and a great deal of self-control. Learning to identify the people who have this trait and avoiding them as much as possible will help you protect yourself, whereas confronting the arrogant person may only make you look worse. These types of people do themselves no favours and look bad enough already. The best advice is to leave them at it, avoid them as much as possible, and wait until the manager picks up on the situation and deals with it accordingly.


‘Getting One Up’ on Someone

When there is a nasty corporate culture of one-upmanship, colleagues are constantly trying to step on each other’s toes to progress.

Getting to know someone in the office seems innocent and enjoyable, until your reveal something about yourself that comes back to bite you at a later time, like if the person you told uses it against you. Or maybe you’ve got caught up in some harmless gossip; or at least it seemed harmless until some of your colleagues began to look down on you as the office ‘bimbo’!

In jobs like Finance, or I.T. you'll find plenty of highly qualified people, which can create an unusually competitive atmosphere, especially if there are low levels of trust and teamwork. You’ll see constant back-stabbing and petty posturing, which are clear signs of office dysfunction.

If you ever find yourself in a toxic environment where people step on each other to get ahead, you can either leave right that minute, or become one of them. The choice is yours.


Fakeness: Inauthentic Relationships and Hidden Motives

In every walk of life, you can come across someone who is never 100% genuine, and it shows. Take these types of people for what they are and treat them accordingly. The best thing to do is to keep them at arm’s length and keep your cards close to your chest in terms of your career intentions. In the real world, certain people will always have hidden agendas and motivations. While good friendships will help the workplace setting become more enjoyable, the wise professional will have to be discerning in choosing their friends.



These people can be the most frustrating, especially to an employee who is very career-driven and focused.

While you get through assignment after assignment, you notice your colleague sitting across from you; and they’ve been on their personal phone throughout the day and had numerous cups of coffee - even before lunch! You’ve worked so hard all day and they haven’t, but both of you are paid the same.

These are the types of situations that make people resentful towards their colleagues. It all starts with procrastination, and should be addressed at a motivational level. Why is this person not motivated to work? Managers need to get on board with these issues and ensure productive employees.

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