Mounting evidence suggests that the workplace environment has a direct effect on the performance of your employees. Many different factors can affect your team’s morale, so it’s important to know how to manage the aspects that are within your control.

One of the most common issues a company can run into is managing different personalities in the workplace. Regular Leaders in Heels Contributor, Ros Cardinal, shares 8 tips to managing workplace personalities, including ones that clash!

Consider How a Positive Environment Affects Your Employees

Both the environment and social relationships in the workplace have a huge impact on employee performance. A happy, positive work environment encourages your workers to be patient and collaborative. Clashing personalities, however, can cause an array of problems that range from failing to meet daily goals, to improper behaviour by one or more team members.

So, how can you manage different personalities in your team?

Always remember that each person is unique, so they may have different perceptions than you do. However, the main goal is to remain impartial and learn how to effectively manage different personalities in the workplace.


Remind Everyone You’re a Team!

A lot of your employees see their peers as potential competition. Eradicate this mentality by reminding everyone you’re a team. You can even design a group commission system that urges your employees to collaborate regularly.


Encourage Open Communication

Not only should you tell your team to communicate, but you should also give them the tools they need to do so. Deploying a chat platform and an internal knowledge base can help them open better communication lines and build a collection of resources at the same time.


Hold Weekly Group Meetings and Private Sessions

You should carry out group meetings and individual sessions with each team member in order to get to know your workforce as a whole. The group meetings will give you ideas on the tools they need. Individual sessions, on the other hand, will help you understand the isolated challenges you can help your employees tackle.


Establish Ground Rules

The first step is to establish ground rules about acceptable behaviour. Chances are you already have guidelines in place, so just give your team a refresher course. Make sure you focus on the way team members interact with each other and provide tips on how to report inappropriate occurrences.


Cut Down Gossiping Whenever You Can

Gossiping is an inevitable part of any office environment. Instead of feeding or ignoring it altogether, take every opportunity to cut down any claims. Remind coworkers that it’s unprofessional in a non-threatening way and encourage them to focus on productivity rather than rumours.


Treat Everyone Equally

As a supervisor or manager, it’s hard not to create different perceptions of your employees. But, treating two people differently can quickly add fuel to the fire. Make sure you treat all your employees equally and avoid playing favourites to maintain a calm atmosphere.


Don’t Play the Blame Game

If you are forced to intervene directly, always remember to stay neutral and avoid playing the blame game. This will help you stay objective and prevent your employees from feeling alienated.


Define Responsibilities Early On

Defining responsibilities early on can help prevent clashes while allowing your employees to focus on what they are good at. Just remember that some responsibilities are shared, so you should find a way to monitor that each employee is collaborating accordingly.

Managing your human capital may be tricky, but it’s one of the best ways to improve your team’s performance across the board. The tips above will allow you to manage clashing personalities in the workplace and create a positive work environment for your team members.

About the author, Ros Cardinal

Rosalind Cardinal is the Principal Consultant of Shaping Change, a Hobart based consultancy, specialising in improving business outcomes by developing individuals, teams and organisations. Hobart, Tasmania.

We all know it, when you work in a large organisation, there is a high chance you will face a lot of office politics. Big egos and a lot of red tape.

You have to be careful what you say and who you say it to. You also need to be careful not to step outside “the box” because you might unwillingly step on someone’s toes – and embark on their ‘territory’.

There’s a lot to consider. To top it off, if you want to enhance your career you also need to connect with the right people. It’s not enough to just do your job and deliver damn good results. You need to manage upwards.

Having 4 General Managers (GM’s) in 3 years isn’t a walk in the park – and I made some big mistakes along the way.

These mistakes taught me 5 very valuable lessons about managing upwards.

1. Find out their agenda

Find out what they want to achieve in their role. When you have a new GM, they want to make their mark. They will change policies and procedures that might not make a lot of sense at first. Organise a strategic meeting with your new boss and get to understand their vision. This enables you to decide if it aligns with your goals and ambitions. It also gives you an idea if you are on board with their vision (or not).

2. Understand who your new boss is

Next to having their own agenda, they have a unique personality. Each of the 4 GM’s I worked for had a totally different management style. My mistake was to expect that their management style would adjust to me. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. If you have the same attitude, chances are that you will be ‘performance managed’ out. When you have a new boss, my advice is to ask them what they expect from their team. Ask them if they can describe the characteristics of what a good team member is to them, and how they manage their team.

3. Avoid being confrontational from the start

One of the GM’s I had came from another department. In my opinion, she had no understanding of my particular department and this showed up in numerous decisions she made. The mistake I made was voicing this from the start. This wasn’t smart for a couple of reasons. Firstly she was new to the department, and by undermining her decisions I was alienating myself. I wasn’t giving her the confidence that I was on board with her vision, or that I was aligned with her mission. Probably because I wasn’t – but that’s another story! Secondly, this can block your own career progression because you label yourself as ‘the trouble maker’ and ‘a difficult person’. This will be reported to upper management.

4. Make an ally, not an enemy

Look at the bigger picture. When you know the vision and leadership style of your new boss, you can make your own decision whether this is aligned with your personality and goals. When you know this is not aligned you can still establish a good professional relationship, and your new boss can vouch for you in many future occasions.

5. Never lose yourself. If it doesn’t work, it just doesn’t work

If they have already made up their mind, it’s hard to change it. Often when you have a new boss they want to bring in their own crew. They make a quick first impression whether they want you on their team or not. If for some reason they choose not to have you in their team, don’t fight it. Let it go. I wasted too much energy trying to make it work, and trying to understand why it didn’t work. And to be honest, there was no logic or understanding. I just needed to accept it.

Every experience is different, and you have to make up your own mind. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or support.

Hopefully, by reading about my struggles (and my suggestions on how to overcome them), you won’t make the same mistakes I did, but instead use these suggestions to turn a challenge into a positive situation.

What tips do you have for dealing with a new boss? We’d love to hear them in the comments!



Caroline De Kimpe

Caroline De Kimpe, is a Career Coach & Personal Brand Expert. She has been a successful recruitment consultant and coach for more than a decade, and she now enjoys helping professionals who are looking for purpose, direction and clarity in their career. She does this by helping them create a Personal Brand that is aligned with their life & career goals. Download her FREE cheat sheet here: and get more clarity in your career.


Featured Photo Credit: gcoldironjr2003 via photopin cc

Some of the toughest conversations that we are confronted with as managers occur when addressing poorly performing employees. Whether it is based on the employee’s results, their skills and experience, their behaviour and attitude or more serious issues of bullying and misconduct; these conversations can be tough, and as a result they are often avoided.

As you are probably aware, if these issues are not managed promptly and in the correct manner, they can continue to build within the workplace and have the propensity to affect staff productivity and workplace culture.

So how do you manage these tough conversations? Here are some simple steps to educate yourself and your managers on how to prepare for these difficult conversations and ensure you manage the problem effectively from beginning to end:

Prior to the Meeting:

  • Address the matter as soon as possible
  • Set a specific time and place for the conversation, ensuring you give the appropriate notice
  • Offer a support person if you are undergoing a formal process as it is a legislative requirement
  • Be prepared:

o Gather all relevant information relating to the issue

o Understand what the purpose or objective is of the discussion

o Remove any emotion and ensure you focus on the problem, not the person

o Understand their personality – this will assist you to predict how they will react and engage during your conversation

o Be ready for bad reactions – unfortunately these will occur at times, however it is best to remain composed, be empathetic yet firm, and demonstrate your point by producing further examples

During the meeting:

  • Be specific about your concerns and ensure you provide detailed examples
  • Allow the person the opportunity to respond, be prepared to listen and consider their responses
  • Remain composed and solutions-focused
  • Set clear expectations with the employee through informal goal-setting or a formal development plan
  • Advise what the consequences are of not improving
  • Set review or follow-up dates – it is important to monitor performance to ensure your expectations are being met

After the meeting:

• Document the meeting so that you have a record of your concerns, your expectations and the action plan

• Monitor performance and provide support, feedback and training where necessary

• Assess the need for further performance management

By following the outlined steps, you will ensure that the issues are approached from an impartial point of view, and that your message is conveyed clearly and constructively. More importantly, the employee will become aware of how they are impacting the business and their colleagues and will have access to a clear action plan detailing how to rectify the issues in question.

These steps will also ensure procedural fairness and compliance and minimise risk for your business. Most importantly however, following a structured process will allow you to confront these issues head-on; ultimately resulting in productive employees and a strong and positive workplace culture.

Sue-Ellen Watts – Managing Director, wattsnext

Sue-Ellen Watts wattsnextSue-Ellen is the Managing Director of HR firm wattsnext which specialises in working with small to medium sized businesses to help them achieve amazing business. She has a background in leading teams, strategic recruitment and leadership coaching and now specialises in HR Management, staff performance, HR Compliance and recruitment. Sue-Ellen started her business in her spare bedroom with the aim of providing the same support to small to medium sized businesses that larger corporations received but was not available to them. Her business has now grown to over 150 clients and 12 staff members.

Image source: Ronny Richert

​As a supervisor or manager, one of your key tasks is to manage the employee relations within your organisation. So, what are ‘employee relations’ and how exactly do you manage or indeed improve them?

Employee relations encompasses the overall management and wellbeing of your organisation’s employees including, but not limited to, their behaviour and morale. It is the common denominator when creating successful engagement initiatives, whether it be around performance management through to workplace health and safety.

To generate improvement in this area, and gain happier and more productive staff members, follow these 5 key tips for a manager to improve employee relations within an organisation.

Improving Employee Relations

1. Communication

Stop sending essay-length emails and get back to basics. Use bullet points and, where possible, pick up the phone or walk over to your colleagues to disseminate information. Check out this eBook on how to communicate to increase your productivity.

“Reward good ideas and keep staff updated”

2. Career Development

Create plans that include career pathways and succession planning, with input from your line reports and potentially their staff. Institute tuition reimbursement for recognised and relevant education

3. Vision

Ensure your company vision is not only part of your day to day culture, but that your staff live and breathe it. Share plans, and get employees excited about the organisation’s future. Ask for ideas on what can make the company more productive – a good way to do this is to narrow down the areas that you wish to see improvement in. That way staff have some direction around where to harness their creativity. Reward good ideas and keep staff updated.

“Ensure that each staff member knows what their boundaries are, what success looks like and the expectations of both their immediate manager and the team as a whole”

4. Motivate

Employee of the Month programs are great, as are incentives and rewards. However, they are short term behaviour changers, and you need to get the fundamentals right. Ensure that each staff member knows what their boundaries are, what success looks like and the expectations of both their immediate manager and the team as a whole. The absence of any clear guidelines or feedback can be detrimental to ensuring positive employee relations.

5. Good Health

Encourage a work/life balance. Give staff some control (where possible) over their schedules by offering flex time or working from home options. Stagger start and finish times to avoid peak traffic. Provide education around healthy eating, exercising and managing stress. Don’t pay lip service – lead by example. Encourage breaks and suggest walking meetings to get some fresh air as opposed to stuffy boardrooms where possible. Companies can face a big cost in terms of managing absences due to stress, so ensure you identify the signs early and step in quickly to alleviate any long term problems.

“Don’t pay lip service – lead by example”

Essentially employee relations are all about your investment in your people. Your people are also the key to your business success, so don’t take them for granted otherwise your productivity and in term your profit will diminish.


Featured photo credit: InternationalHouseManchester via photopin cc


Kathie-Kelly-Leaders-in-Heels-bio-img-finalKathie Kelly
Kathie Kelly is the Director of Square Pegs Consulting which provides assistance to not for profits, businesses and individuals with recruitment and HR projects along with sourcing funding and developing corporate partnerships for charitable organisations.

Kathie has spent a number of years in recruitment/workforce planning, marketing/business development and corporate partnerships/fundraising in both New Zealand and Australia.

An ex ballet dancer and a keen supporter of the arts, Kathie has also been on the board of the Anywhere Theatre Festival, absolutely loves to travel and is an avid rugby league follower. You can connect with Kathie on LinkedIn at or follow her on Twitter @1KathieKelly.