Emily Marsh September 17 2019

Supporting conflict management with personality profiling

How personality profiling tools like Facet5 can help individuals, teams, and organisations with conflict management.

At one time or another, we’ve all experienced disagreements at work. A little conflict is normal in any team environment. But constant disagreements can cause teams to fragment, and these cracks can appear as chasms across the rest of the organisation.

60-80% of all difficulties in organisations stem from strained relationships between employees. And it can have a significant impact on an organisation’s performance. It is expected that managers spend 1-2 days a week dealing with conflict. That’s over 50-100 days per year. Multiply that by the number of managers within your company, and that’s a huge amount of lost time.

The potential for conflict always has, and always will be, a challenge for teams and organisations. When you put a group of people together you can’t always guarantee that they’ll gel, even if they all have the same goals and values.

The extra challenge for teams today is that they are very different from the traditional teams of the past, where everyone sat together and worked closely with one another. In this environment, it was easy for people to get to know each other and learn how best to work with one another, as they spent 8 hours a day, five days a week in each others’ company.

Now, we are used to virtual teams thanks to the rise of remote working, as well as interchangeable teams where people come together from different departments and backgrounds to deliver on a task or project. It’s not uncommon to work with different people on a daily basis. Nor is it uncommon not to see every member of your team every day of the week. This can make it more challenging for teams to bond and establish strong working relationships.

Understanding each other better with personality profiling

Knowing the personality profiles of your colleagues makes it easier to understand why you have trouble collaborating with Natasha, why you and Tim constantly seem to clash, and why Sarah doesn't seem very friendly towards you.

It could be that you and Natasha are both high Will and equally stubborn. You and Tim might be at opposite ends of the Affection scale. And Sarah’s apparent unfriendliness may just be her low Energy and shyness playing out.

Personality profiling helps people to de-personalise the conflict, to understand that their differences are due to their inherent behavioural preferences rather than a particular prejudice or hidden agenda. It also offers a universal language that helps people to talk about their differences.

An individual's personality profile can also tell us a lot about how they prefer to resolve conflict. For instance, people with high Energy may be very forthcoming about their frustrations, while people with low Energy may retreat inwards and become very quiet. Knowing how others are likely to behave means you can find ways to bridge the gap and come to a resolution that works for everyone.

Unlocking the personality of the team as a whole

Personality profiling doesn’t just tell us about individuals personalities, it can also tell us about the personality of the team as a whole and how this might play out -this is where Facet5's Teamscape application comes in. 

A team with a lot of high Will individuals, all of whom are very direct and decisive about their own ideas, may experience conflict and tension if their views don’t align. What about those one or two individuals who score low on Will. Are they ever able to get a look in?

A team full of high Affection people are great at making people feel valued and creating a caring and supportive environment. But they might avoid giving people negative feedback or struggle to manage more difficult people within the team.

A team full of people with high Control will work very differently to a team with mostly low Control people. A team skewed towards high Energy might be too much for the low Energy people to handle on a daily basis. And a team skewed towards low Emotionality might have difficulty recognising when their high Emotionality colleagues are struggling.

Personality profiling provides organisations with data and insights to see what might help or hinder them. It can show you where the gaps are and where you may need people to flex in order to bridge those gaps.

Building high-performing teams

For the most part, teams need a mix of personalities in order to succeed. You need the high Will individuals to take charge of driving ideas forward and high Control people to ensure you see those ideas through. You need people with high Affection who are naturally supportive and encouraging, as well as task-focused and pragmatic low Affection people to maintain a balance.

With personality profiling, you can anticipate how people are likely to interact and work together and where conflict may potentially arise. This can help to inform the hiring decisions you make and any training or mentoring needs.

Building effective, high-performing teams doesn’t just rely on having people with the right skills to fulfil the necessary functions, and making sure they are all aligned to the same goals and values. You need to take into account the natural behavioural preferences of each individual. These are often referred to as “soft skills”, but they feel far from ‘soft’ when they are causing conflict and disrupting the energy and unity of the team. Facet5 Teamscape can help you to clearly see these differences and similarities within your team.

Beyond the Personality Test


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