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.
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.
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.
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