Using Communication Styles to Resolve Conflicts


Communication styles vary with behavior. Respond to conflict positively by understanding communication styles.

While conflicts themselves aren’t inherently bad, they can cause damage if not dealt with correctly. The best way to resolve conflict is through clear communication. If possible discuss disagreements before they escalate into conflicts. Both parties should be calm and clear headed before discussing the situation. Clearly communicate your concerns in a way the other person can relate to. Learning about the different behavioral styles can help you achieve this.

People with a need for control are direct in their communication, especially during an argument. They may immediately shut others down and appear to have very little interest in resolving the conflict. It’s common for them to remove themselves from the disagreement completely before reaching a resolution. Their behavior may be driven by a fear that others are trying to take advantage of them, reassure them upfront that this is not the case.

Those who need to be liked often take issues personally and respond defensively. If they’re not careful, this can escalate to a verbal attack where they may say things they don’t mean. When they feel trust is missing from a relationship, they may not share concerns. Start by establishing trust, then phrase the issue so they don’t “look” bad.

People with a need for clear boundaries may not respond to the needs of others. They may be tempted to avoid the conflict altogether if they can. During resolution, they may become discouraged if their ideas are not accepted. This produces additional conflicts, as they may not think they’ve been heard. The aggression they were feeling doesn’t go away, and may lead them to create tension later on. Let them know you need to talk in advance. This gives them time to process information and enter the discussion with a clear mind.

Those with a need to be right demand adherence to structure. They strive in orderly environments where there are proper systems in place. It’s extremely difficult for them to admit they’re wrong. This intense need to be right can also cause them to stall in order to gather more time information to support their position. They may come off as hostile or skeptical about the entire situation. Approach carefully, and let them know they aren’t at fault.

In any scenario where conflict is present, focus on listening to concerns instead of firing off your own. Pay attention, ask questions about the other person’s perspective, and acknowledge their emotions. By focusing on ways to use behavior to provide a resolution you can avoid additional clashes. Take responsibility for your actions and try to move on.

Conflict resolution is one of the many improvements gained when you understand behavior. Not only does it help de-escalate situations, it helps avoiding confrontation in the first place.

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