Working on a team sometimes gets frustrating. People don’t always see eye to eye, and stronger personalities may be more likely to get their way. People who are able to speak up, be heard, and make compelling and appropriate arguments will send less-bold types scurrying for cover. If you work with strong personalities, don’t agree to stay in the shadows.
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On one end of the spectrum is the person who is throwing a temper tantrum because he didn’t get his way. We would not recommend this modis operandi. However, the other end of the spectrum is, essentially, taking on “victim” status. If you work with strong personalities, you don’t have to end up on either extreme. The following three skills will help you communicate effectively and not feel shoved aside.
1. Hold Your Head Up
Literally, hold your head up. Your body language tells other people how to respond to you. If you hold your head up when you walk into a room, make eye contact with others and sit up straight you will garner more immediate respect.
People who hang their heads, slump in their chair, and look down in meetings are sending the message that they are either disinterested or have nothing to offer. They may not be doing this on purpose! Some people truly do not understand how they are holding their bodies and what messages they are sending. Remember to hold your head up.
2. Don’t Back Down
Quieter people may feel shut down when louder and more talkative people are engaged in a group conversation. They withdraw, but withdrawing breaks down communication just as much as being aggressive.
If you are being interrupted or feel shut down, don’t withdraw. (Don’t start screaming, either.) Try saying things like, “To finish my point,” or “I would like to finish what I was saying.” If you think the group is disregarding what you say too quickly, you may say, “Does anyone want to consider this perspective before we move on?” or “Okay, but please explain why my suggestion doesn’t work?”
3. Be Productive and Positive
Keep it positive, and keep the focus on the work at hand, not the personalities. You don’t have to like everybody you work with, but you do have to work with them (at least for the time being.) Even if you feel slighted in a meeting, try not to take it personally. Remember to get your ideas on the table and accept the final decision. If you are positive and productive, people will notice.
Tell Us What You Think
Do you work with strong personalities, and how do you handle it? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.