When you have a problem with another person, be it a friend, family member, or coworker, it’s important to remember that personality differences are often the primary triggers of conflict. Your personality style is a huge factor in the way you approach tasks and interact with others, and when you encounter someone who doesn’t share your approach it can be extremely frustrating.  What follows are a few tips for resolving conflict, based on the personality style of the person you are dealing with.

1. If you have a conflict with a person with a D personality, don’t be afraid to approach your disagreement head on.

Strong-willed D-style personalities can sometimes be a bit intimidating, especially to confrontation-adverse personality styles. The good news is that you don’t need to be afraid of talking to someone with a D personality about a problem you’re having with them. Confrontation, when handled respectively, is something that D personalities typically respond very positively towards. D personalities would prefer to bring conflicts out into the open so you can get them out of the way quickly—They will respect you handling your differences in a direct way.

2. Conflict with I personalities is best handled with a light touch.

People with I-style personalities are outgoing and energetic. They love interacting with other people, and are genuinely happy to talk with anyone, anywhere. But, there is one thing that I personalities cannot stand—Rejection. If an I personality feels like you personally dislike him, it will only exacerbate any problems you’re already experiencing. Tackle a discussion about any problems you have with an I personality only after you’ve approached them in a positive way. Start with a compliment or an anecdote. When you talk about your issues, keep your sense of humor and don’t lose your cool. They will respond better to a friendly discussion than a direct confrontation.

3.  When you have a conflict with an S personality, try working together to find common ground.

People with S personalities value harmony, and are excellent peacemakers. They want everyone to be happy, and strive to create an environment where everyone works together in a positive way. The danger of confronting an S personality with a problem is that he or she will agree to make a change in order to keep the peace between you, but be unable (or unwilling) to follow through with the request in a meaningful way. They are much more likely to act on a compromise solution—One where you both resolve to work together to make changes. When you talk to an S personality about a problem, start by focusing on things you agree on, not where you disagree. Offer a good compromise, and it will get you far.

4. If you have a conflict with a C personality, attack the problem, not the person.

C personalities are organized and controlled. They take their time completing tasks accurately, like to research things thoroughly, and are always prepared.  Because they put so much time and effort into everything they do, they hate to be criticized. They are perfectionists at heart, and take even the smallest complaint personally.  This makes them extremely difficult to confront. The best way to approach it is to focus on parts of the problem largely out of the C personality’s control, or aspects of the problem they might not have considered.  Make it clear that you appreciate all of their efforts, and that you’re bringing something to their attention because it’s a variable that they need to have in the equation in the future. No matter what, don’t frame the conflict as a personal attack. If you do, the C personality will likely become resentful, and go out of their way to avoid future interactions with you.


Looking for more strategies for conflict resolution? Check out our Conflict Resolution online training session. It’s scheduled to stream live on Friday March 14 at 1pm EST. For those of you that can’t make it, we’ll offer on-demand viewings after March 14 in our online store.


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