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

Developing your EQ Using Type

Learn the benefits of developing your emotional intelligence  When you have an expanded emotional intelligence and a balanced personality, you have a healthier lifestyle, stronger relationships, and overall greater satisfaction and performance in your chosen work. In Introduction to Type® and Emotional Intelligence, Roger R. Pearman emphasizes the advantages of cultivating your emotional intelligence and how it will create progression in:

  • Enhancing your leadership abilities
  • Enriching your relationships
  • Extending your influence
  • Expanding the personal resources you can call on to manage life’s mental demands.

 During emotional intelligence development, certain challenges arise that may be difficult to manage.  Below are specific actions you can take to overcome these challenges depending upon your preferences.

  • Since individuals with preferences for extraversion initiate, they must learn to pace themselves and allow for silence when communicating.
  • Introverts focus inwardly, and should learn to frequently scan the environment and acknowledge the processing of information.
  • Since individuals with preferences for judging like structure, they must learn to be patient with open processes and reach agreements on closure needs.
  • Perceivers enjoy flow, and should learn to establish closure and reach agreements on processing needs.

 Many emotional intelligence books and concepts imply that certain types have more innate EQ than others.  However, each type has a unique emotional intelligence gift they possess, and each gift can be advantageous when extending emotional intelligence.  For example:

  • If you have preferences for Introverted Sensing, you possess the gift of realism and specificity.
  • Extraverted Sensors have the gift of immediate awareness and focus.
  • If you have preferences for Introverted Thinking, you have the gift of evaluating frameworks and being precise.
  • Extraverted Thinkers have the gift of analysis and critique.

Strong emotional intelligence among leaders aids employee retention, productivity, and performance.  Discover how to maximize the best performance results in your organization, by purchasing Introduction to Type® and Emotional Intelligence.

Developing Great Leaders, A Measured Approach

Organizational analysis of revenues, profit margins, price per share and operational costs are essential but, they are not the only indicators of success. The quality of leadership must also be assessed.  Robert Devine, an Organizational Development Consultant, wrote an interesting white paper about using assessments to develop great leaders.  Enjoy…  

Developing Great Leaders White Paper

Type and stress

Thanksgiving is a happy time, full of family, food and fun. It is also known to kick off a season of holiday shopping, family obligations and other end of year activities that can induce STRESS.  Stress is when we experience the out-of-character version of ourselves.  It can cause us to appear to be irrational, out of control, unstable, and crazy.  The book, In the Grip, references this behavior and is based on the personality type theory of Carl Jung.  It introduces the inferior function-a usually hidden part of our personalities that emerges most dramatically during times of stress, fatigue, and illness. 

Some Chronic Stress Reactions Include:

  • Frequent expressions of anger
  • Outbursts of emotion
  • Withdrawal, avoidance of others
  • Conviction that others dislike them

 All types seem to benefit from a change of scene and physical exercise to get out of the grip.  Additional type-specific helps and hindrances are available in the book, In the Grip, 

Remember that stress doesn’t only impact us but, also impacts our colleagues, friends and family who surround us. 

Recommended Responses to Others in Stress:

  • Validate the concerns expressed
  • Try to understand the point of view described
  • Promise to think about, discuss with others, and see what you can find out about the issue at hand
  • Promise to meet and discuss the issue at a specific time

 Once you recognize when someone else might be in the grip of his or her inferior function, responding appropriately will: 

  • Keep you from making matters worse
  • Help you respond in a constructive way
  • Enable you to achieve enough distance to avoid triggering your own inferior function

 In due time, we can learn to appreciate and use the new and unique information we gain from ourselves and others when we or they are in the grip of the other side.  Knowing that these grip experiences are healthy and adaptive enables us to see them as temporary episodes from which we can benefit. 

Using Type to Build Customer Relationships

In the enlightening booklet, Using Type in Selling, Susan A. Brock details how to leverage knowledge from personality indicators to strengthen customer relations.  This book was designed with the sales professional in mind.  However, the tips are practical for any individual who wants to strengthen customer relationships. During every business transaction, you progress through 4 critical stages:

  1.  Initiating the relationship
  2.  Investigating needs
  3. Suggesting a course of action
  4. Obtaining agreement and closing

Every customer service and salesperson approaches these stages differently depending on their type and behavior pattern. When type is applied to a customer interaction, you will be enabled to do the following:

  • Understand how customers are different
  • Hear the customers’ needs and speak their “language”
  • Build the necessary relationships
  • Maintain loyalty and long-term customers

 Though you will not know the psychological type preferences of your customers, knowledge of the type framework stills allows you to understand that:

  • Your customer’s preferences may be directly opposite your natural preferences.

  • Your customer’s preferences are clues to how this customer wants to be sold to. 

  •  Some customer behaviors have nothing to do with their type preference.

 Look for these behavioral cues to help gauge your customers’ preferences during a customer interaction. 

Extraversion – talks to think, may interrupt or speak quickly
Introversion – pauses when answering or giving information, reflects silently, uses shorter sentences when communicating

Sensing – asks for step-by-step information, asks “what” and “how” questions
Intuition – talks in general terms, asks “why” questions

Thinking – appears to test you or your knowledge, follows a pattern of checking logic: “if this, then that”
Feeling – strives for harmony during the interaction, asks how others have resolved the situation

Judging – consistently on-time or early for appointments, wants to move through the process, impatient with overly long descriptions or procedures
Perceiving – may be late for appointments or lose track of time during appointments, generally won’t decide until the last moment, may seem to want space to make own decisions More information about how you can leverage type to improve customer relations can be found in the booklet, Using Type in Selling, by Susan A. Brock.