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DEALING WITH CONFLICTING BEHAVIOR STYLES IN THE WORKPLACE

Blog/tweet by Christopher P. Mok

Consider a typical audit workplace environment. Senior and staff accountants and consultants typically work in partitioned “bull pen” spaces.  Since most of most of their billable hours are at the client’s place of business, frequently when returning to the office they will open their lap top to any open available bull pen spot….

The last audit senior is working on multiple projects and has left various client files piled up on the desk and an empty chair.  He is focused on getting things done quickly and takes pride in completing large workloads faster  and more concisely than his peers.

One of his office mates is scheduled to brief his manager on the same client’s tax planning matter’s that afternoon and panics when he can’t find the client files.   He looks in the client file library and comes up empty.  One of the administrative assistants directs the tax accountant to the audit senior who can’t be found.  Eventually he finds the file he needs near the bottom of a stack of files on a chair in the audit senior’s last work space. He is fuming!  Why can’t the audit senior follow protocol and return files when done.  Tax accountant wasted 45 minutes in tracking down this file;  who is he going to bill this time to?  His evaluation is coming up and he is going to be critiqued on his efficiency ( or lack thereof ).

The tax accountant abhors confrontation but his anger and resentment continues to grow.  He finds ways to retaliate against the audit senior by withholding information he needs until the nth hour.  Now maybe he’ll get how it feels to experience frustration in not being able to get his job done on a timely basis.

The team work digresses into petty sabotage exchanges.  How can CST © help alleviate this ongoing conflict?  Has your team taken the Communicating Style Survey?  Once the participant knows his primary style preference and identifies his co workers primary style preference, how can he use this awareness to diffuse the conflict and  rehabilitate their team efforts? Any thoughts out there?