Assessment Solutions

Why Jenna & Tim Don’t Get Along

Jenna and Tim resizedGranted, neither one chose the other as a co-worker, in fact, they are very different people, but, their supervisors thought they’d be a good team for an important project. Jenna and Tim were asked to determine the feasibility and profitability of a new product line for their company.

These two coworkers were different in every way. While Jenna made quick decisions mostly going with her gut, Tim was more thoughtful and needed time to process. Jenna was impatient and Tim a more patient, steady type. Tim focused on processes and people while Jenna had a big picture, task focus. Jenna loved change and often initiated changes in her department, making Tim nervous with his slower-to-change attitude.

Jenna approaches the new product idea with enthusiasm, immediately thinking it was a no-brainer. She was ready to give it the green light, way before Tim finished his extensive research. Impatiently waiting for Tim to finish his report, Jenna began feeling animosity for Tim. Tim became tired of Jenna’s attitude toward his work style and purposely took his time. When Tim finally completed his study, he handed Jenna a lengthy report and began explaining, in detail, the charts and a well-planned process. Because Jenna is a bottom line person, she says curtly, “For crying out loud Tim, “Where is the summary page?” Jenna is frustrated. Tim is defensive. Instead of collaboration, this team is miles apart and in conflict.

The interesting thing about this scenario is Jenna needs Tim and Tim needs Jenna. In time, they would figure that out. The blend of Jenna and Tim’s work styles could bring a new perspective and a broader depth to the team and to the projects in which they collaborated.

The conflict between coworkers, teams and departments usually start out with a scenario like this. Different people trying to mingle different workstyles, not understanding or appreciating the differences. So how do employees resolve their differences? In most scenarios, one or the other ends up in the manager’s office complaining about the coworker.  In fact, when surveyed, managers said they spend 20 to 40% of their time trying to resolve conflict. That is a lot of unproductive time.

In Jenna and Tim’s situation, I believe there are three keys to resolving their conflict:

  1. Recognize how different people communicate and respond to workplace situations
  2. Understand these differences.
  3. Appreciate the differences and what they bring to the table

It can be done. It has been done with organizations I have consulted with over the years. I have taken my proven process and written a robust, 16-chapter eLearning Course entitled, Conflict Resolution in Workplace. To view an introductory video to the course, go to and click on Conflict Resolution in the Workplace.

If you would like additional information about this topic and learn ways to resolve conflict in your workplace, listen to our latest webinar:  Conflict in the Workplace at

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September 30, 2015
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