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Dealing with Conflict

Dealing with conflict is a frequent concern for many organizations. Managers and supervisors have to deal with conflict on a daily basis. Many times conflict happens when people see situations differently. Often the potential conflict can be defused by understanding the other person’s point of view.

Much has been written on different personality or behavioral styles. A very positive way to deal with conflicts is to gain an understanding of the four different behavioral styles.

For example, some people are the no-nonsense, get-the-job-done type. To them, the most important thing is the task. They like to take decisive action and take pride in a job well done.

Other people are more focused on people relationships. They see work more from a team viewpoint. They want people to get along with one another and support each other.

When a no-nonsense type of person supervises a relationship type person, there is the potential for conflict. The get-the-job-done supervisor will get more work accomplished from the relationship type person if the supervisor allows for freedom to interact with others. By actively listening to the employee’s concerns, the get-the-job-done supervisor will obtain greater productivity and respect.

The other two styles are the think-about-the-details type person and the enthusiastic adaptive type person. The think-about-the-details type person likes to think things through and dislikes being rushed to get something done. After all, they want to do a quality job. The think-about-the-details type person also prefers to do work in a step-by-step way.

Can you imagine what kind of conflict a get-the-job-done supervisor would get into with a think-about-the-details type person if the supervisor didn’t respond appropriately to their style? The get-the-job-done supervisor probably may have greater success with the enthusiastic adaptive type person. The enthusiastic adaptive type person tends to react immediately and adapt to different work experiences as long as they are interesting and motivational. By understanding the other person’s point of view, managers and supervisors will have a more productive work environment.

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Jeffrey W. Drake, Ph.D., is a professional speaker for AchieveMax®, Inc., a firm specializing in custom-designed keynote presentations, seminars, and consulting services. Dr. Drake has made presentations ranging from time management to empowered teams and project management to communication styles. For information, call 800-886-2MAX or visit

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