Eliminate conflict resolution in one simple step

How to eliminate conflict resolution

I’ve always been a bit sceptical of psychometric testing. Many of us will have completed them at some point in our lives. A few years ago, I was part of a team that completed a particular type on the basis of answering just 25 questions. Initially, I was quite impressed. I could see a lot uncanny statements of truth in the twenty or so page report emailed to me, defining every aspect of my personality. Until, that is, I read a colleague’s report and realised I could draw equally similar conclusions from his! Was this just a very well paid form of astrology? Which then led me to be equally cynical of how just 25 responses could possibly lead to an autobiographical dissertation of such depth.

Several years earlier, within a different team, I’d completed the Myers-Briggs assessment. I recall being equally dubious about that one too. Today, however, all of this changed! I was taken through exactly the same test in about fifteen minutes. I am almost certain it produced exactly the same profile – INTP. Quite rare I was told, like having a low probability blood group!

This time I felt a strong sense of satisfaction that those four letters actually represented something of truth. Perhaps I have reached a stage in life where I can accept being pigeon holed with less angst? Or perhaps, blurred by years of excess alcohol, I am now only capable of seeing myself in bullet-point form?!

One of the great benefits of this type of assessment is not so much learning about yourself, but learning about others. Specifically, people you work closely with. Of course, this is especially true when there is conflict.

At one stage in my career I had to work with someone who was my polar opposite. To them I was probably an introverted ditherer. In my eyes, they were the company bully. We were never able to find a sense of true peace. I suppose my historical approach had always been to be upfront about our differences with them and attempt to agree some form of compromise for the greater good of the organisation.

A fresh perspective on this was offered to me today. I was shown a personality profile that would have been a close match to my former adversary. The solution was not to communicate the differences between them and myself, but instead talk in their language. So if they work within a tight locus of control, clear boundaries and structure, suggest that you value these things too. Gain clarity on what you control and they control. They want structure – give them structure. They want boundaries – suggest you define boundaries. How can they possibly argue with that?

Initially this made no sense to me at all. Why try to be something you are not? Why try to become like them? Why can’t they do the adjusting?!

Surprisingly, I understood and bought into the response to my questions immediately. By doing so, you are not changing the person you are or compromising your values. You are simply adapting your approach to managing one relationship in the wider interests of resolution and team harmony. This is recognising that you have the professional maturity to adapt. In all likelihood, they don’t. Being able to manage different relationships by understanding and modifying your behaviour according to the needs of the other person, is not weakness but true strength.

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