There are several strengths that I have in conflict as an Analyzing/Preserving and Affiliating/Perfecting person.
- One strength is that I am willing to forego the expression of personal feelings to facilitate the forward movement of a project. This means that I do my best to look at the success of our organization at United Way or a project first even if it means I need to bite my tongue and not speak my mind.
- Another strength is that I rarely confront others abruptly or harshly. This does not mean I do not confront others, because I do. (Actually, I just confronted someone last Friday after they cussed towards me.) It simply means that I do not confront them without first thinking about what I want to say. When I do confront someone, I do it in a calm, controlled way without lots of emotion. This allows conversation to take place and for the other person in conflict to not feel attacked.
Like most things in life, the strengths that I have in conflict as an Analyzing/Preserving person can also become weaknesses if they become excessive. The main excess I experience is becoming overwhelmed by others’ emotions. When I get into emotional situations I often feel paralyzed not knowing what to say or do. Another excess I have is struggling with others’ pressure for me to speed up. Whether it is something I need to get done quickly at work, to make a quick decision, or someone pressuring me to play faster on the golf course, I struggle dealing with the pressure to speed up.
Thus far I have shared how I perceive myself in conflict, but how do others perceive me in conflict?
Others, I think, experience me as someone they can have constructive conflict with because I do not react to conflict abruptly or harshly (as I described earlier). This allows people to more easily engage in conflict because they know conflict with me is a safe place. They know they are not going to be attacked, torn down, or criticized. I also think some people might suspect they can overpower me verbally and emotionally because I need time to process information and think through what I want to say. However, later in a conflict people will learn that I have standards and values that are non-negotiable. If the conflict touches on those, then the other person quickly learns I cannot be overpowered like they might have thought at first.
There definitely are some areas for growth and change that I can make in the way I have conflict.
- One of the goals for growth that I have is to respond more decisively and quickly to defend myself when someone criticizes me or makes a statement that I disagree with. Earlier I shared with you that I have a tendency to withdraw in conflict, especially when I am presented with information that is new to me. I think I can have more productive conflicts if I am more assertive to tell the person that I disagree with him (once I have listened and heard him out) in a strong and assertive way. Even if I need time to think through what they have shared, I need to clearly state that I need more time to think instead of giving them an impression that I agree with them.
- Another goal for growth and change in my conflict style is to no longer adopt the characteristic of the Accommodating/Harmonizing style which can “adjust to and absorb differences and difficulties.” When in the heart of conflict I have a tendency to shrink back from my position. When talking I have a tendency to say, “It’s ok,” or “You are right,” as I hear what they say and how it differs from my own view. A goal for my own growth is to learn to take a firm stand for what I believe in and not back down.
Question: How do you think others perceive you in conflict?
(for both blog posts)
Dunn, Ph.D., Larry. “Personal Styles of Conflict.” Lecture, Fresno Pacific University-North Center Campus, Fresno, CA, December 15, 2011.
Gilmore, Susan K. and Patrick Fraleigh. the Friendly Style Profile: a guide through calm and storm.Eugene, OR: Friendly Press, 2004.
 Susan Gilmore and Patrick Fraleigh, the Friendly Style Profile: a guide through calm and storm (Eugene, OR: Friendly Press, 2004), 22.
 Ibid., 22
 Ibid., 10