Taking the High Road: Resolving Conflict Through Positive Action


Understanding your personality traits can help you consistently choose the “High Road.”

When engrossed in a conflict it can be tempting to choose the “Low Road.” The immediate results of this choice may seem satisfactory but the long term repercussions are rarely positive. Choosing the high road isn’t always easy. In fact, it’s generally the more arduous option.

Taking the “High Road” is to be the bigger person in any situation. It’s the conscious choice to travel exclusively on the highest moral and ethical ground possible, especially when everyone else is choosing the easy route.

We all have situations that test our resolve to take the High Road. These situations vary drastically depending on our personality. What seems perfectly normal to one person could be offensive to someone else. Though some have a higher tolerance for conflict, everyone has a breaking point.

We all have our behavioral pitfalls. A firm understanding of our behavior helps us to recognize the situations that upset us and to determine why we are tempted to take the low road. For example, patient individuals are often seen as more tolerant. These individuals are eager to please and like to involve others. However, this tolerance can be their undoing. If something bothers them they tend to put it off to resolve later rather than addressing it right away. As these concerns start to pile up, they get closer and closer to an explosive breaking point. This anger can complicate the decision to take the High Road as they feel their patience run out.

Individuals that are socially inclined, really like people and area all about getting the end result run the risk of the opposite problem. They are so excited about new challenges they may press others too hard, wearing them down. With the unique trait pair of “Direct Teller”, their communication can seem disrespectful and condescending to others, which may at times get in the way of them “taking the high road.”

The best way to prevent these breaking points is self awareness. When we know our potential pitfalls we can maneuver around them. Recognizing the potential impact of our words and actions on others can help prevent conflicts. There’s bound to be bumps along the way but the more aware and accountable we are for our actions, the better we will be able to handle them as an individual and as a team member.

We choose our actions and which road we take. By making the conscious decision to avoid the low road, we improve our life and the lives of those around us. Consistently ask yourself “Am I taking the High Road?”

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