185: Coexisting with Other Office Personalities | Tanya Dalton Skip to the content
Tanya Dalton quote on teams
August 11, 2020   |   Episode #:

185: Coexisting with Other Office Personalities

In This Episode:

As a leader, you can create a strong team that works together to achieve your group’s goals, vision, and North Star. Teams are critical for reaching success, and as humans, we’re designed to work in groups. Our brains are literally wired for it! By seeking out effective people to join and grow your team, you’ll live each day fired up about the people you get to work with (not have to work with!). In this episode, I’m sharing 3 tips for growing a strong team, and why you shouldn’t fall for resume propaganda. We’ll also explore a few momentum-builders to get you started!

Show Transcript:

The Big Idea

Different personalities are crucial to helping you and your team find success.

Questions I Answer

  • How do I hire good team members?
  • What are some strategies for growing a strong team?
  • What are some tips for collaboration?
  • How can I get my team to work better together?

Key Topics in the Show

  • Reframing the way you think about conflicts among your team

  • Digging into differences in a healthier, more productive way

  • How to teach your team to embrace conflict

  • 2 tools to help cultivate that collaborative, motivated team environment you want

Resources and Links

Show Transcript

This is The Intentional Advantage podcast with your host, Tanya Dalton, an entrepreneur bestselling author, nationally recognized productivity expert, and mom of two. This season is all about Strategies for Success, helping you confidently step into leadership, purposefully, intentionally, and mindfully. Are you ready? Here’s your host, Tanya Dalton. 

Hello. Hello, everyone. Welcome to . . . I almost said Productivity Paradox, but that is not this show anymore. It is The Intentional Advantage. Whew boy, things are still new around here. Things are still shifting and changing. I’m still getting used to it. So today is Episode 185 of The Intentional Advantage podcast. Yes, you’re listening to the right podcast. If you’ve missed the last few, we changed the name and you’re going to want to go back and listen to that first episode of this season, Episode 183, where I talk about all the reasons why we changed the name and how much happier I am with this new name, The Intentional Advantage. 

Alright, now that I have my head screwed on straight, let’s go ahead and dive into today’s episode because we’re continuing our season of strategies for success by talking about teams. Now we talked about teams last week in Episode 184, and we dove into the concept of finding greater success by focusing-in and bringing in a team mentality; having effective, motivated people on our team that truly drive us and our business forward. 

But guess what? There is a lot more to that team-building puzzle when it comes to cultivating the environment, that’s going to facilitate that new level of growth that success that we’re really looking for. 

And that is what we’re focusing in on today. How we can continue to leverage that concept of effectiveness on our teams as much as possible? Because here’s the thing, even when we seek out and we hire the most effective, the most highly motivated people to join our team . . . and even if we’re collectively on the same page with our mission, our vision, our core values and our North star let’s face it: We’re all people at the end of the day. 

That means we’re all different. We all think, behave, and act differently. We all have our own little quirks and little ways of planning and working and handling what comes our way. It’s part of what makes us all unique. And that’s really a fabulous thing. 

Having a lot of diversity in your team is really important. And even though we all understand that it is great to have all these different ways of thinking and behaving 1 of 10 

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and how beneficial it can be in terms of building a strong team . . . Sometimes the differences that exist between us on an individual level, depending on the circumstances, can cause a little bit of tension every now and then, 

am I right? Yeah. Maybe even a little bit of conflict we could say, or at least that’s what we think. We think tension is bad; conflict is bad that there’s no way this can be good for our team. Whenever we butt heads with people that we work with, or when we hear about other team members butting heads with one another about something, whether it’s a project that’s being collaborated on or a decision that requires all the team members to weigh in, it can make things feel uncomfortable for lack of a better word here, because we want every day to be absolutely 100% amazing all the time. Don’t we? 

I mean, we think about our ideal day at work or even at home, and it’s always this picture-perfect, zero clouds in the sky, kind of thing, right? The hard truth, you ready for this? It’s not going to be a surprise because this is nothing new, but life is not perfect. I know, I know you’ve heard that a million times in your life. We all have, but it’s actually time to sit back and let that sink in for a minute. 

Life is not perfect. People . . . oh Lord, people are not perfect. You are not perfect. And goodness knows I am not perfect either. Here’s the thing: We can have so many amazing people in our lives and on our teams, and yet, there still are bound to be these moments that are not all rainbows and sunshine. So we need to stop believing that there must be something terribly wrong if we’re experiencing a little bit of rain. 

What’s important is not to shy away from conflict, but to learn how to really dig into it and try to work through it in a healthier, more productive way. In fact, we want a good, healthy tension on our team. If you have people on your team that constantly say yes to everything you or anyone else throws out, then you don’t really have a culture of trust. 

You have a culture of yes, which means essentially that you have people who are afraid to push back or stick their neck out there and toss out their ideas. It’s the collection of ideas, not one single solitary person’s ideas. It’s the collection of ideas that make a business great. We need our team to feel empowered, 

to share their thoughts and opinions. After all, that’s why we wanted them on our team because we think they have value. They have ideas to bring to the table. So that’s really what I want to dig into here today on this episode, tension discomfort, the so-called conflicts that we sometimes experience with other people in our workspace while we’re leading or our colleagues who work alongside of us. 

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And I also want to focus in on how we can learn to embrace conflict more easily with more confidence and how you can teach members of your team to do the same so that no matter what’s happening at the office or wherever you’re working from these little moments where we feel like maybe we’re butting heads starts to become less of something. We try to hard to avoid and sweep under the rug and they become something that we can actually benefit from as leaders that our team can benefit from as well. 

Sound good? All right, let’s dig in. Now. I mentioned just a moment ago that a little conflict can actually be a good thing for you. It’s good for your business. It’s good for you. It’s good for your team. And I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. And this is partly because we actually run into an element of what we like to call conflict at least to some degree, 

just about every single day of our lives. This idea of conflict, it’s everywhere, and we’re going to run into it as leaders at home, and at work. We run into it as professionals striving to connect with others. We run into it when we’re trying to coordinate certain goals and projects, we run into it on the different teams that we’re a part of, not just in our professional life, but also outside of the office and at home. It’s pretty much inevitable, but guess what? 

Even though I know it sounds like an oxymoron, a little healthy conflict is necessary and it speaks to the type of growth and success that we’re aiming for. I think that far too often when we get caught up in some sort of tension at work, whether it’s between us and someone else or between two other people on your team, whatever it is, we’d run into that conflict. 

And we tend to want to immediately shy away from it. Let’s find it; let’s sweep it underneath the rug. Let’s just avoid the conflict altogether. But it truly is some of these hard conversations where the growth is going to happen. 

The truth is conflict is a natural part of life. It’s not always good, not all the time, but it’s not always bad either. But we get wrapped up in this idea that everything has to be positive for our team to flourish, and so we end up turning a blind eye to the fact that we don’t operate at a hundred percent every single day. 

Not every day is going to be amazing. It just can’t–at least not when we’re looking to shift and grow and move towards success. And why is that? Well, it all relates back to that idea that we’ve talked about many times on the show, that change, growth, getting out of our comfort zone . . . is uncomfortable. Real, concrete growth requires you to step out of your comfort zone. 

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It’s supposed to draw you out of that zone of comfort and stir up a little bit of conflict along the way. Discomfort, conflict, tension, learning how to navigate these twists and turns of life, and beyond . . . that is part of the journey. And it’s a good part of the journey because we grow from it. We learn from it, it brings our team closer together because of it. 

So when conflict or tensions arise on your team, for any reason, it’s helpful to understand that, yeah, in many cases, it’s because of a shift or a season of change that your business and your team are working through. And ways of handling that change and the demands that come with growth . . . it looks and feels different to everyone involved, including you. 

And as I mentioned earlier, you and every single person on your team are unique and you all bring a different perspective and a different set of skills to table. You and your team, you approach tasks and projects and other things that come up in different ways. And that is a really good thing. So even when it may seem like there’s a bit of conflict or a little bit of clashing of ideas flying around, it doesn’t mean it’s bad or unhelpful when it comes to the growth of your business. 

Many times the most creative ways of approaching a task or a project are born from what would be considered tension. Out of this tension, out of the conflict, we sometimes rise up with the best ideas because there is a collaboration of different ideas coming from many different directions. 

Remember different personalities are crucial to helping you and your team expand and find success. When we have different people coming together, brainstorming, figuring out ideas for how you can pivot or shift and how you can evolve and grow . . . we’re going to find more clever, more creative, more innovative solutions to our problems because they come from very different perspectives. Success is a collaborative effort and it takes a lot of give and take between everyone involved. 

This is why we need a little bit of healthy conflict, a little bit of healthy tension because it is good for you. It’s good for your team. It’s good for business. It really is. But you’re going to notice there. I use that word healthy, not just tension, not just conflict, it’s healthy tension, healthy conflict, meaning everyone on your team views the differences amongst you as a benefit, not as a hindrance, not as something that is bad, but something that is really a tool that we can use. 

And speaking of tools, I want to touch on two tools that you can use right away in your workplace to help cultivate that collaborative motivated team environment you want and find a little healthy in your tension. So let’s get into the first one of those, because truly, I think this is the thing that’s really funny about work. 

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Okay, maybe not like “ha,” funny, but it’s really interesting is that we spend more time with our work colleagues than we do with our friends and our family members. It’s true. Think about it: You spend most of your day away from your family, away from your friends doing work tasks with other people. 

So even though we’re spending a lot of our time with these team members, the hard truth is more often than not, we don’t really have that deep of an understanding of those people who are around us, not really anyway. And this is especially true when our teams are new; when we’re bringing new people together or we’re starting to cultivate our team for the first time, it can take some time for people to really warm up to each other and connect with each other. Why is that? 

Well, I think if any of us are really being honest here, it’s because being truly 100% authentic and honestly yourself is scary. It is. I know that all of us have felt that way at some point or another. How do we make this process of getting to know your team members a little easier so that when a difference in opinions or ideas or behavior comes up, it’s a little less jarring and a little bit smoother to navigate? 

Well, just a few weeks ago, if you remember, I had an interview with Pat Flynn, which was Episode 180. It was last season, but we talked about a tool that we can use as leaders to facilitate this deeper level of understanding to make it so that the people on our team who are different from us, we can still find that common ground. And that is the Enneagram personality test. 

Now on that episode, Pat and I talked about the Enneagram test and I talk about the Enneagram test again in Episode 114, which is quite a while back, but that’s one of my favorite personality tests to use. And just to give you a quick little refresher on what it is, the Enneagram is basically a personality test that acts as a map for self-discovery and personal growth. 

And there are 9 main personality types. I like that it’s fewer types than something like a Myers-Briggs or one of those where there are lots of letters and you have to remember all the different combinations. I like that there’s just nine of them because it makes it easier for me to understand when people tell me their Enneagram number, I have a pretty good general idea of why they think or behave the way that they do. 

And that’s one of the things I really like about it. The Enneagram test also can shed some light on what truly motivates and nourishes you when it comes to communicating and working alongside other people, which is just part of the reason that it’s viewed as a great resource for leaders and for team members. 

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When you and your team take the test together, it allows you to see the different strengths and the weaknesses that you all bring to the table. And it helps shed some light on the effective ways to communicate and really come together and collaborate as a group. And I’ll be honest here, understanding Enneagram has helped my marriage. It helps me understand my husband and what motivates him. 

And even when we have an argument, because yes, of course, we have arguments from time to time . . . When we have an argument, I understand where he’s coming from, and I understand how to really argue in a healthier way. So again, healthy tension, I think it’s important in marriages as well as on teams. So understanding Enneagram really does help, which makes it an amazing tool. 

So obviously I’m a huge fan of Enneagram. At the same time, it’s really important to understand this is not a silver-bullet solution. It’s not going to magically solve all of your problems right away, but it does give you some insight and some understanding of the different people on your team. Now, the thing is with Enneagram is it does cost money. It’s not entirely free. 

There are free Enneagram tests available online, but to really get a good comprehensive one, it’s going to require paying for it. But honestly, that’s an investment in your team. The other thing is it takes a little time to understand it. It takes time to dive into the results and understand them. And because the majority of us feel like maybe we’re a little strapped for time, this can add a little more to your plate. I think it’s worth it to be quite honest with you, but that’s something you have to decide for yourself. If you’re willing to invest time and a little bit of money into the Enneagram test, I think it’s an investment that pays off really well and will make a difference for your team. 

Now, luckily, I also have another exercise that is free and it takes very little time for you to do. And I think it really does help you get a good level of understanding and cooperation for your team. So I want to talk about that in just a minute. Let’s take a quick mid-episode break and then let’s dive into this other tool that I think will really help you. 

Quick question for you: Have you joined my Facebook group yet? Now at the beginning of this episode today, we talked about the idea that we want to surround ourselves with people who have different ideas and different perspectives and different viewpoints from us because it makes us stronger and it pushes us to grow. Well, my Facebook community is a great place to find that. It’s filled with women who are there to support and encourage each other, but to also share their opinions, share their viewpoints, and to help push you and motivate you to do your very best and to continue to grow. So if you haven’t joined my Facebook group, what are you waiting for? Head on over, go to Tanyadalton.com/group, and request access to the 

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group. It really takes five seconds to join. Just simply fill out a couple of questions. We would absolutely love to see you there. Tanyadalton.com/group. 

Okay, let’s talk about this other alternative method. So before the quick little break, we talked about the idea of a personality test and I dove deeply into Enneagram, although there are several other personality tests out there. So now I want to talk about a free option, a really simple option. 

And I think it’s a great option for everyone on your team. And it’s this exercise that really should take probably no more than 20-30 minutes to really accomplish. It’s super simple to do, but highly effective. And this exercise that I’m referring to is called the User Manual. And what it does is it outlines much of the same aspects of your personality that you would find from the results of your test, but it does it for absolutely free. 

So you can think of it as a how-to guide written entirely by yourself and by the members of your team. And the best part of the user manual is there’s not really one way that you have to do it. All it takes is for each member of your team, including you, to write up basically a short little description about themselves that explains the different aspects of their personality. 

Think of it like when you get a dishwasher and it comes with a user guide. It tells you the best practices, the best way to use the dishwasher. It also tells you what not to do with the dishwasher. Both are really important. And that’s what is really helpful here with your user guide and with the user guide for your team members is it’s basically you setting those same types of guidelines. 

Here’s how I like to work. Here’s how I like to communicate. Here’s how I don’t like to work. Here’s how I don’t like to communicate. 

And I think because it’s written out, it’s so much easier to share because it can be uncomfortable at work to say, ‘Oh, I don’t like being spoken to that way.’ But if you write it as part of your user guide, it just becomes part of, ‘Oh, we know that this person here doesn’t like to be approached this way.’ It just helps with those rules of engagement. 

And so to make it easier for you, I want to give you a little bit of a framework just to give you a little bit of a skeleton to work from instead of starting with a blank page. 

So take that paper and divide it into six sections and each section will have a title. So let’s start with section one: Your style. How would you describe yourself? What’s your leadership style? What are the things that you think define you? And that goes under section one. 

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Section two: What do you value? What are the traits that you value? What are the things that you really admire look up to? What are the things that are really important to you? 

Section three: What you don’t have the patience for now? I think this one is really important because if you ever found yourself feeling incredibly frustrated, because someone is sitting at your desk and they’re telling you something and they’re droning on and you’re like, just wrap it up. I don’t have the patience for it. 

Let people know that’s a good way to avoid it. Tell people what you don’t have the patience for. That’s our third section. 

Fourth section: How to best communicate with you. How do you like to be communicated with; do you like communicating on Slack? Do you prefer Voxer or texts? Do you like emails? And then how do you like to be spoken to? Do you like it to be short and direct, or do you expect a long conversation? What does communicating with you ideally look like? 

Section five: How to help you. This is a big one. This is a way of asking for help without feeling like you’re asking for help; tell people how they can help you out. What are the things that you find incredibly helpful? 

And then our sixth section is what people commonly misunderstand about you. And I like this one because I think sometimes people perceive us in ways that we don’t intend. So what are some ways you think people perceive you that are not really correct or not? 

Right, let me go through those six sections. One more time: Your style; what you value; what you don’t have the patience for; how to best communicate with you; how to help you; and then what people commonly misunderstand about you. 

Let’s say, for example, someone reading your user manual could find something like this written for you: I appreciate straight direct communication. Say what it is you’re thinking, don’t edge around the heart of the matter. 

Or maybe you would say: I welcome ideas at any time, but when it comes to issues that arise, I won’t wait long for solutions. I appreciate it when others take initiative and think outside the box. 

`Now, as I mentioned earlier, the very best part about this user manual is it’s written entirely by you and each member of your team. And so therefore we all have this little glimpse into how to work best with one another. 

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And you could even take a step further. You could almost treat it like the old fashioned baseball cards, where it talks about . . . like there’s a picture of the person and it talks about their strengths and their weaknesses and what their batting average is. Okay, batting average is not really going to help us in the office situation, but doing something like a baseball card that has a picture of you, and then it talks about what you value, what ways you’d like to be communicated with the ways that people can help you. 

That would be incredibly empowering for other people on the team, especially for new members as they join your team because it’s almost like, ‘Hey, here’s the best way to work with me,’ right? So when you hire a new member of the team, they can easily look at the user manual. 

Each person has created and they can quickly and easily learn information about each person they’re going to be working with. And that makes it easier for them to acclimate quickly to you and your team, which makes them a more effective team member. And that’s really what we want. 

There’s no guesswork about what someone’s personality is like because you have this user manual that there’s no test results to dive into all the information included in this user manual is created 100% by you. 

Now here’s the thing I want you to remember: no matter which of these tools or whatever other tools you use to navigate the different personalities of your team, I want to encourage you to try to look at these differences as advantageous. 

They are a benefit. They truly are. All it really takes is a bit of open, honest communication to get that ball rolling. And you can reframe the way that you and your team approach that feeling of conflict in the future. And that I think is really gonna help you. 

So let’s talk really quickly about a couple of momentum builders to really apply what we talked about today on the podcast, into your life right away. So momentum builder number one: write out your leadership style, the good and the not so good. And then ask yourself, is it eye-opening to think about how others perceive you really quickly? 

I’ll share a little snippet of mine because I have my own version of the user manual that I use, that I give to my team. And in it, it says, this is what I do that I think is great: I’m a master problem solver. I’m a big picture thinker, I’m relationship-focused, and I’m a truth-teller. Now here’s my not so great granular details: No, I have no patience either for long-winded explanations and I can be assertive, which some 

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people might read as intimidating. I also assume everyone’s focus and energy matches mine. And I have a very low tolerance for negativity and selfishness. 

Yeah. That’s a little rough to talk about, but at the same time, I know I’m not perfect. We talked about that earlier. I mean, here it is laid on the table: I am not perfect. There are great aspects to me and not so great, and really taking the time to dive into the not so great really does help me think about how do other people perceive me when I’m communicating with them. So that’s just a little snippet of my own user manual. 

So you start by thinking about what is your leadership style? What is the good and the not so good? And then to head over to my Facebook group, share your leadership style, and get ideas of how others are defining theirs. I think there’s a lot of power in reading other people’s examples and saying, ‘Oh, I’m like that.’ Or, ‘Oh, I’m the opposite of that.’ And that will help you really refine how you make your own user manual. 

And then the third momentum builder is to ask yourself, is there someone in your office or your workspace that creates tension for you? I want you to think through how maybe you might be misunderstanding them. Is that a possibility? It probably is. 

And they might be misunderstanding you and you misunderstanding them. So really think through, if there is somebody who creates tension for you, where that comes from. Next week, we’re going to continue this conversation in kind of a different way. 

And speaking of different personalities, I’m having John on the show. So my husband, John, who works alongside me and who definitely has a different personality than me, we will be chatting about what it’s like to work together. 

But for today, here’s what I want you to walk away from this episode: thinking about whether it’s creating your own user manual or taking the Enneagram test, do what it is that will help you and your team work better together. Because truly we want that diversity on our team. We want to see lots of different people with lots of different backgrounds and beliefs and ideas and perspectives. Truly, that is incredibly powerful . . . and that is the Intentional Advantage. 

**This transcript was made using AI so excuse any typos, misspelling and grammar.

Tanya Dalton is considered one of the best motivating female keynote speakers. Her talks on productivity, time management, finding balance and habits are motivating women around the world. She is a woman on a mission to help redefine productivity.