Type and Conflict

  Type and Conflict Image

Conflict describes many different types of interactions. These challenges occur every day in our personal and professional lives. Since you can’t escape them, learning how to handle conflict is critical.

Recent research by Damian Killen and Danica Murphy have revealed that the last two preferences (Thinking or Feeling; Judging or Perceiving) of the Myers-Briggs Psychological Type Theory have significant bearing on people’s focus and response to conflict.

Where We Focus in Conflict

Thinking (T) and Feeling (F) in the MBTI relate to decision-making processes. Killen and Murphy found that T and F preferences determine focus during the conflict.

Thinkers focus most strongly on:

  • What the conflict is about
  • Opinions and principles
  • Analyzing and tolerating differences
  • Succinct delivery
  • Maintaining a firm stance

Feeling preference persons tend to pay most attention to:

  • Who is involved
  • Needs and values
  • Accepting and appreciating differences
  • Tactful delivery
  • Ensuring give and take

How We Respond to Conflict

The way people deal with the outer world determines their response to conflict.

For people who have the J—Judging preference they tend to:

  • Seek resolution
  • Sort it out
  • Focus on the past and future
  • Be concerned primarily with the output from or outcome of the situation
  • Experience satisfaction once the conflict is over

For people who are P—Perceiving in preference they tend to:

  • Seek clarification
  • Work it through
  • Focus on the present
  • Be concerned primarily with the output of the group
  • Experience satisfaction once the conflict is being addressed.

The challenge, of course, in working through conflict is being able to recognize your own behaviors and work with others as they exhibit theirs. The MBTI provides a foundation for allowing us to see how individuals may view the same situation from entirely different viewpoints.

Begin by looking inward. Then, respect that different preferences bring enlightenment, insight and perspectives to every situation.

Resource: Introduction to Type and Conflict, by Damian Killen and Danica Murphy

“The three little words “Stop, Look and Listen” are three of the most powerful words in the conflict resolution process. They can be applied to virtually every step in the process, but are paramount to assessing the conflict situation at hand.”

Resource: Ironing It Out–Seven Simple Steps to Resolving Conflict, by Charles P. Lickson