LIndsay Lapaquette

LIndsay Lapaquette

I work with organizations who want to elevate team performance by refining leadership communication skills.

Uncover the Most Frequent Source of Conflict and How to Manage It

According to the DISC® Model of Human Behaviour, the most frequent source of conflict between individuals accounts for 80% of conflict.

Curious to know more?

I certainly know that we can all use a little less conflict in our lives…

The factor that underlies 80% of all conflict pertains to whether you are more of a task-oriented or more of a people-oriented individual.

Frequent source of conflict

Where do you sit?

1. I’m task-oriented.

Someone who’s task-oriented tends to talk about things and situations in terms of their thoughts.  They also tend to prioritize getting things done over building relationships.  Now, this doesn’t mean that they don’t want to build relationships or don’t care about people.  It’s simply that getting things done is a top priority for people who fall into this category.

2. Nope. That’s not me.  I’m people-oriented.

Individuals who are people oriented tend to talk about situations in terms of how they feel instead of talking about their thoughts.  These individuals generally prioritize building relationships over getting tasks done.  It’s not that they do not have an interest in completing tasks.  They just view relationships as a more important priority.

3. I’m confused.  I see myself in both descriptions.

Individuals can be more or less extreme on each of these dimensions.  If you’re more towards the middle, you might recognize yourself in both of the above descriptions.

Imagine these personality orientations as a ruler placed horizontally.  At the left end of the ruler you’ll find some people who are extremely task-oriented.  At the right end are those who are extremely people-oriented.

There are also many people who will fall in the less extreme ranges of these two orientations.  If you fall somewhat more towards the middle of the spectrum (or the middle of the ruler), you may identify with both descriptions to a certain extent.

However, even if you fall more towards the middle of the spectrum, you still likely have at least a slight tendency towards one orientation or the other.  One orientation tends to be your more dominant style, which may be more what you default to when you are under stress.

Frequent source of conflict

Do you see how this can cause conflict?

These different orientations constitute only one element of our unique personality style.  However, based on just this orientation, we can see how interactions with someone who has a different orientation than your own can cause a lot of conflict.

If you’re task-oriented and are working on a project with someone who is more people-oriented, you may think that your colleague is not very focused on getting things done.  Their efforts to ensure that relationships are being nurtured as the project advances may be misinterpreted as a lack of dedication to project outcomes, or as not being dedicated to the project.

On the flip side of things, if you’re people oriented and are collaborating with someone who is more task-oriented, you may think that the other person doesn’t care about people.  You may interpret their focus on project outcomes as an indication that they are heartless or lacking compassion.

People with these different perspectives simply approach the world wearing different lenses.

How can we adjust our interactions to minimize conflict?

Once we’ve understood this frequent source of conflict, we have a better perspective of other people’s needs.  This alone can help diffuse a lot of conflict.  

Awareness allows us to approach situations differently.

If you’re task oriented, and conversing with someone who is people oriented, try to acknowledge their feelings about the situation.  This will help them to feel heard, and will ultimately bring them to a place where they are able to talk about the solutions that you want to talk about.

If you’re people oriented, know that when you’re talking to someone who is task-oriented, it’s important to try to focus on facts, because this is what a task-oriented person needs.  Giving them the concrete information that they need will allow them to better relate to your need to also address feelings.

Understanding how the other person perceives the situation will open the door to acknowledging and meeting both individuals’ needs, which is ultimately how we can resolve conflict.

For more on stress-free communication, please visit and pick up a copy of my free eGuide 10 Tips to Navigate a Difficult Conversation at Work.

If you liked this post you may also enjoy:

Does Fear Hold You Back from Saying What Needs to be Said?

5 Tips to Become a Better Listener

How the Assumptions We Make Influence our Reactions

Lindsay Lapaquette, M.Sc.(A) works with organizations who want to invest in elevating team performance by refining leadership communication skills. Lindsay’s background as a former Speech-Language Pathologist, specialized in working with clients with social interaction challenges, brings a unique perspective that helps leaders and organizations get to the root of complex communication issues so they can save time, money and sanity.

Lindsay’s approach has been profoundly influenced by her work with First Nations organizations, her experience as a parent to two children with pervasive mental health challenges, and the premature loss of both of her parents. These experiences have taught Lindsay great lessons about the power of excellent people skills that extend beyond her professional expertise.

To learn more about Lindsay’s programs, please visit

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