Plays Well With Others, or Runs With Scissors?

In my career, I have worked with every type of personality there is: analytical, driver, expressive, amiable and combinations thereof.  Myself, I am driver-expressive (or according to my husband, an expressive driver!)  Understanding the differences between ourselves and our co-workers or team members is important to a productive and positive work relationship.

We’ve all been in that position at one time or another where a task needs completing or there is deliverable to be met, and because of the differences in work habits and personality, meeting those objectives becomes very difficult.  Let’s be honest here, isn’t there that one person that just drives you nutty? What do we do about it? As mom used to say, “Play nice with the other kids.” Otherwise, you’d get the comment, “Don’t be the kid that runs with scissors.”

When I run into this situation, I have to stop, breathe and ask how I can handle this better; how I can work effectively with a different personality. To that end, I will identify behaviors in the other person and myself that are conflicting.  You have to put yourself in that person’s shoes and see the task from their perspective.  Take time to engage them in conversation by actively listen to what they have to say and how they are saying it.  Moving forward with tasks and deliverables, it would help for you to model your behaviors after theirs.  If you do this (using similar verbal and body language, prepare your deliverables in the same format, etc.), it will facilitate a better work relationship.

Another way to foster a positive work relationship is to share your “public personal” life and encourage them to share theirs.  Go grab a cup of coffee or lunch together.  Stop by their desk and say hello; see how their day is going.  Perhaps ask if there is something that you can help them with.  Now, I am not saying you to tell them all about your crazy 30th birthday party in Vegas, but general information on your life:  hobbies, travel, sports, etc.  Find some common ground to build off of.  This will help to develop a work friendship that will enable you to work more effectively together and meet your teams’ deliverables.

Remember, the ultimate goal is to have a productive, positive work environment while completing your project on time, in scope and on budget!

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