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    Mar 27, 2015    |

Using Type in Conflict Resolution

When individuals rely on each others’ efforts in order to achieve goals and contribute meaningfully, conflict becomes somewhat inevitable. This interdependence amongst diverse people gives way to needs and desires that also may differ, therein lying the birthplace of potential disagreement. However, conflict is in itself a neutral concept – it is merely our reactions to conflict handled badly that give these differences a bad rap. In a conflict study by Patrick Kerwin, Consultant and a MBTI® Master Practitioner, he found that if the individuals involved – regardless of their preferences – believed the conflict was handled in a negative way, there was respect lost amongst colleagues. This warrants attention, especially as team cohesion, trust and respect are amongst the most potent predictors of workplace engagement and team productivity.

What we also know is people may require different things during conflict in order for resolution to be considered amicable.

With so many different styles, needs and influences, it is important to try – however possible- to incorporate multiple perspectives into the conflict response in order to maximize the chances of amenable outcomes for everyone involved. Since we don’t know an individual’s preferences at any given time, it is wise to consider all possible preferences as one approaches conflict to ensure we don’t remain rigid, and to account for all people and types in the discussion.

Consider the following model to include all preferences:

1. They WAY the Conflict is Conducted: E & I
E: Allow time for discussion; be prepared to discuss your thoughts, ideas, and perspectives
Tips for I’s: Give team members verbal and nonverbal cues to indicate interest
I: Allow time for reflection; be prepared for internal reflection and silence
Tips for E’s: Allow each person to complete his or her thoughts; actively listen before responding

2. WHAT is Considered: S & N
S: Assess the current situation; what are the constraints? What are the facts? What have we done before that worked? What do we keep?
Tips for N’s: Validate your understanding of information and intent
N: Consider the possibilities; what are possible ways around the constraints? What haven’t we done before? What changes are needed?
Tips for S’s: Explore meanings and associations beyond what is known

3. HOW conflict is Resolved: T & F
T: Analyze the situation logically; what are the pros and cons? What are the consequences? Has everything been considered?
Tips for F’s: Try to separate the issue from the person
F: Consider the impact on people; how does each alternative fit with organizational values? What are the benefits? Who is impacted and how? Has everyone been heard?
Tips for T’s: Be the ones to ‘check in’ on those involved in the conflict and remember consensus when appropriate

4. What’s NEXT in the process: J & P
J: Make a plan; what are the next steps? What are the timelines and check-ins?
Tips for P’s: Monitor your focus on exploration
P: Stay open to changes; what additional inf can we consider? What’s our process for incorporating new info as it arises?
Tips for J’s: Monitor your need for immediate closure.

By incorporating all possible preferences, you ensure everyone gets at least a little of what they need. The result? Positive residuals, and preserved respect.