“Whoever has my mayonnaise please return it!!”

I remember receiving an email like this many years ago whilst working in a busy office.  From mayonnaise to mugs and laminated signs to do with washing up there’s nothing like a staff room for getting people’s hackles up! Shared fridges; kitchens and rest areas can be a source of huge debate, distraction and conflict in the workplace.

Whilst we can look on in amusement conflict in the workplace can consume vast amounts of time and energy and have a negative impact on morale.

A recent CIPD survey indicated that 44% of workplace conflict was caused by differences in personality or working style (CIPD Tracing Workplace Conflict Survey, March 2015).  Through the Myers Briggs (personality) Type Indicator it’s possible to understand our own personalities and how we differ from other people.  It has the added benefit of giving a safe language that people can use to comment on/ discuss issues for example “that’s me true to my ‘Sensing’ and focusing on the detail.”

Of course there isn’t a type that determines whether or not you’ll use someone’s mayonnaise without asking, but understanding each other’s motivations and traits can help to keep our sense of humour and respect for our colleagues.

The full CIPD survey is below and there’s more information on the MBTI tool here.

Report  from CIPD 2015 about conflict in the workplace

Report from CIPD 2015 about conflict in the workplace