How Two Strong Personalities Can Successfully Work Together

08/09/2017 10:10 am ET

Alpha personalities—people with dominant tendencies who naturally assume a leadership role—can contribute a great deal to your team. Alphas are confident, assertive, and persuasive, making them successful salespeople and respected team leaders. So what happens when two strong personalities share the same space? Here's how to get along with other dynamic individuals without turning your office into a war zone.

Handle Conflict with an Open Mind

Conflicts are going to happen, and it's best to be prepared in advance. Your natural instinct is domination; your ideas are best, your way is the only way. Nope. Fight the urge to aggressively assert yourself as it leads nowhere and hurts the team. Strong leaders encourage and welcome new ideas. Commit to having an open mind, and to approach every potential conflict with a willingness to listen and compromise.

Fight Fair

Make your case with facts and logic and avoid getting personal or insulting. The last thing you want to do is come across as the office bully and stifle creativity and input from others. If you refuse to consider other options, you run the real risk of hurting morale. If you must confront a coworker, keep it low-level, behind closed doors, and strictly about the subject at hand. In the end, you are both on the same team, working towards the same goal.

When debating about work-related projects, give reasons and offer a compromise. “Here are three other companies that tried this marketing approach and failed. My strategy is more likely to work based on these statistics. I think this will be a mistake, but if you're sold on this approach, I'll be glad to do my part.”

Learn to Accept Defeat Gracefully

If you're passed over for a plum assignment or leadership position, it can be especially hard to swallow. It’s important to show civility by congratulating your peer and getting on with your job. Continue to do your best and realize your time will come.

Don't Take it Personally

Take a deep breath and a step back when you feel yourself getting heated. You and your colleague have the same goals: pleasing the customer and making money for the business. Find a way to work together, and everyone wins when the best ideas rise to the top.

Know Your Boundaries

Grumbling about sour grapes can damage your reputation. It ultimately undermines your boss, demoralizes your team, and jeopardizes your job. Be positive, even if you feel disappointed or defeated. Don't air your dirty laundry in the office, and especially not on social media. Unprofessional complaints on social media about your work, your coworkers, or your boss can hurt you far into the future.

Know When to Walk Away

When possible, keep a positive attitude and work toward an equitable resolution. Strong personalities are often intelligent, and it’s in everyone’s best interest to work it out—or agree to disagree. Employees are assets, and it is in the boss’s best interest to build an ethical, winning team. No one person can win every battle. In the long run, the real winners have to be the team, the business, and the customers.

However, some personality conflicts can never be resolved. If a dominant personality in your office is making your work environment unproductive with no resolution in sight, it may be time to move on.

For more of Diane’s etiquette tips, you may enjoy reading 6 Etiquette Tips on Conflict Resolution in the Workplace. You can also visit Diane’s blog, connect with her here on HuffPost, “like” The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook, and follow her on PinterestInstagram and Twitter. Buy her new book, Modern Etiquette for a Better Life.

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