Managing Managers’ Feelings

Posted on October 27, 2014 by Katherine Razzi

Business HandshakeIt’s probably happened to all of us at one time or another, when we have a manager that just doesn’t like us for some reason. Who knows why? You try your best to figure it out with coworkers and friends, and still you get a weird vibe. What’s this all about?

Well, managers are human too and so are personality clashes. That’s a very human trait and sometimes you don’t even know why you clash with someone. But underneath it all, there is a reason and you have to do some brainstorming to get to the bottom of it. But how?

After just writing about a jealous boss, maybe there’s a social case where it’s not jealousy but a genuine personality clash. Personality clashes can be as intricate as personalities themselves. You don’t have to have the same kind of personality to have a clash. You could be two polar opposites whereby you’re not liked for you’re A-type, bombastic personality, while your manager is B-type, quiet and reserved.

Coaching managers to understand his or her subordinates better and to smooth out personality quirks, is the best way to go if you ask me. In fact, if a manager is trained to understand personality types, then he or she will certainly understand his or her subordinates much better. Most of the clash is due to misunderstanding where people are coming from.

plsunderstandmeHaving both manager and subordinates take personality tests are not only fun, but will help clear the air. There are many personality tests, but the one I find best, is Keirsey-Bates. (David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates – Please Understand Me; 1984) Below is Amazon’s the book description:

Does your spouse’s need to alphabetically organize books on the shelves puzzle you? Do your boss’s tsunami-like moods leave you exasperated? Do your child’s constant questions make you batty? If you’ve ever wanted to change your mate, your coworkers, or a family member, then “Put down your chisel,” advises David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates in this book of personality types. We are different for a reason, and that reason is probably more good than bad. Keirsey and Bates believe that not only is it impossible to truly change others (which they call embarking on a “Pygmalion project”), it’s much more important to understand and affirm differences. Sounds easier than it is, you might say. Well, this book is a guide for putting an end to the Pygmalion projects in your life and starting on the path to acceptance.

A few years ago, we took personality tests during a week-long training session facilitated by an outside party – a real pro! We found that many of the personality group descriptions were spot on for most, and others were quite surprising, but they told us it was spot on.

You can get the book for a tuppence at Amazon and conduct the test yourself. I’d start with the manager and subordinate who are experiencing the clash. You have two great workers who you don’t want to see leave over this and what a better way to resolve differences once they are understood? … better yet, once they understand each other.

About Katherine Razzi

Katherine Razzi hails from the Midwest and holds a B.A. in Applied Behavioral Science from National-Louis University, Evanston Campus. Coursework in cultural diversity, management, organizational dynamics, morals and ethics, group interaction, and psychology.

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