Three Ways to Keep Your Sanity with Personality Differences

Let’s face it. If it weren’t for people, our jobs would be much easier sometimes! But dare we say that in the ministry world? If we’re honest . . . absolutely.

What a blessing that God made each of us unique—a thousand personalities for a thousand people. Yet, there are times when those differences can create conflict—those times when we just don’t know how to relate to someone who is not “wired” the same way we are. Sometimes they push our buttons and sometimes they just leave us speechless. Regardless, we have to learn how to interact well with all of them.

It can sometimes be a challenge to know how to interact with the personalities that are vastly different from our own. Your leadership is at stake, so it’s imperative to find ways to handle those difficult situations.

  1. Don’t just pray, but pray specifically.
  2. Get into the details with God on this. Before asking God to “fix” the other person to be less annoying, we must start with ourselves. Do I have an intolerant spirit? Am I so focused on the negative attributes of someone that I’m overlooking their strengths? As the Lord works through these elements of our growth, we can then turn to specific requests that help us cope. Pray about how you respond to their last-minute performance, rudeness or negative perspective.

  3. Don’t be afraid to have “the talk.”
  4. Let’s face it. You work with this person every day. And if those annoying personality quirks are not going to go away, stop dreading interactions or anticipated frustrations. Instead, talk to them about ways you can both work together most effectively. Scripture tells us to speak truthfully with one another. Be the leader and make the first move. After all, there’s a good chance you have some quirks that drive your co-worker a little bonkers too.

  5. Find a common language.
  6. The key to making any work relationship effective is figuring out the give and take. When personality differences enter the picture, you must create a common language that helps you navigate around the personality obstacles. For example, if you have a co-worker who has a tendency to ramble when discussing an issue, agree that the word “rabbit” is a subtle cue to get the conversation back on track. If you have a co-worker who waits until the last minute to complete work, create a system of checkpoints along with way so you are not left worrying until the last minute on projects.

The reality is that there are no silver bullets for managing all the nuisances that can creep up in the workplace. However, in ministry it is critical to demonstrate a Christ-like manner in how you deal with people. After all, your ministry depends on it.

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