Managing Conflict with Personality Type

Conflict is often described as an interaction that has a negative emotional charge.  Most conflict may appear to be caused by simple, straightforward issues but, more often than not conflict exists because some core element of trust, beliefs, authority, or passion is being challenged.  Personality type can help us see and understand more clearly what is really involved in a conflict situation. 

 When incorporating personality styles to address conflict, one approach is to focus on the interplay of the last two letters of an individual’s type code. Thinking (T) –Feeling (F) and Judging (J) – Perceiving (P).  There are four conflict pairs that result from this combination: TJ, TP, FJ and FP 

How does the T/F and J/P dichotomy impact conflict?

Thinking-Feeling dichotomy addresses where we focus in conflict

Judging-Perceiving dichotomy addresses how we respond to conflict


Conflict pairs summary:

Thinking Judging

Likely cause of conflict:  Challenges to/of authority

Desired outcome: Closure or resolution

In dealing with TJ’s be aware that:

§         Fears regarding the uncertainty of the outcome are very strong

§         Approaching conflict from a logic basis and broadening out can enable them to encompass their feelings

§         Once the conflict is closed they are not likely to reopen it

Thinking Perceiving

Likely cause of conflict: Challenges to/of trust

Desired outcome: defined process or progression

In dealing with TP’s be aware that:

  • Tend to see conflict as a healthy, challenging exchange of ideas
  • Prefer plans that leave room for alternative routes in the future
  • Provide time for the agreed on outcomes to be debated before final closure

Feeling Judging

Likely cause of conflict: Challenges to/of beliefs

Desired outcome: intact relationships

In dealing with FJ’s be aware that:

§         Tend to see conflict as a negative and personal experience

§         Once they are certain everyone’s concerns and feelings have been given credence, they can calmly look at the other factors

§         If there is ill will or lingering frustration they will not be able to close comfortably

Feeling Perceiving

Likely cause of conflict: Challenges to/of values

Desired outcome: respectful listening

In dealing with FP’s be aware that:

  • Tend to ensure that everyone has an equal voice
  • Inclusion of others is more important to them than the issues
  • They need to believe that their core values will be respected going forward regardless of the conclusion

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