No two people are exactly alike, which can lead to tension in the office when preferences clash. For example, you may prefer your space organized in a certain way, however, your colleague’s workspace may be cluttered with papers and half-full coffee mugs. Maybe you prefer communicating via email and your supervisor likes face-to-face interactions. On the surface, these differences may seem small, but they can quickly lead to frustration and conflict.
It’s inevitable that you are going to work with people who are different from you, so how do you work together successfully, despite your differences? Here are 5 Tips to Co-Exist:
Remember, They’re Different, Not Wrong
As humans, we have the tendency to think that the way we think and function is “correct” or “better” than others. Keep in mind that just because something works well for you, doesn’t mean it will work well for everyone else.
Be Curious, Not Closed Off
Avoid making rash judgments and quickly dismissing someone’s process or point of view, ask questions instead. You can use your differences as an opportunity to learn and better understand one another.
Find Common Ground
Rather than focusing on your differences, identify your similarities. What do you both want to achieve? How can you work together to reach that goal? This enables you to leverage each other’s strengths and work together, instead of against one another.
Never Stop Communicating
Many conflicts in the workplace are due to misunderstandings caused by assumptions. Keeping the lines of communication open prevents this unnecessary tension from happening in the first place. Also, pay attention to HOW you communicate, including what you say and how it may come off to others.
Be Prepared To Meet In The Middle
Compromise is critical to maintaining a positive work environment. Don’t expect that by using these tips, everyone will always prioritize your preferences above their own.
Be patient with each other, communicate frequently – even if it’s just quick check-ins, and find ways to strike a balance.
Taking personality tests (like the Myers-Briggs assessment) can also be a fun, eye-opening way to help you better understand your fellow team members, and how to work well together.