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Conflict occurs because somebody in a relationship has an unmet need which could be anything from the need to be safe, loved, noticed, included, accepted, heard, respected, appreciated, acknowledged, supported, or forgiven. The unmet need is often coupled with intense emotions such as sadness, anger, anxiety, self-doubt, embarrassment, vulnerability, fear, hostility, jealousy, resentment, or indifference. When conflict is ignored, it festers. When conflict is aggressive or violent, it escalates. Alternatively, when conflict is addressed with the intention to reconnect that which is disconnected, we can all return to a state of wholeness.

Our natural talents and strengths, together with our life experiences, can be a tool to help us address conflict with an authentic approach. The good thing is there is usually more than one way to resolve conflict.  The key is to consider which strengths would be most productive given the people involved and circumstances surrounding the conflict. Awareness of how our talents may help or hinder conflict resolution is the first step.

A take charge individual might address conflict head on with the goal of overcoming it quickly and moving on. They may think an immediate, straight-forward, to-the-point conversation is the best approach.  And often it is. 

  • Potential blind spot: This approach may be intimidating to some and lack an emotional connection. By building personal connection into this more direct style of conflict resolution, others may feel both seen and heard making them more receptive to this approach. 

A strategic thinker might want to spend some time planning how to resolve conflict thoughtfully and methodically.  They may work to communicate a step-by-step approach that highlights the roadmap to conflict resolution.

  • Potential blind spot: This approach might seem impersonal or overly structured. Take time to share the “why” behind the roadmap and highlight a mutually beneficial win that’s possible once a resolution has been reached.

A relationship builder will want to take into consideration the emotional risks and rewards of conflict resolution as it pertains to the person involved. They might resolve conflict with a heart-centered approach acknowledging the emotional impact before discussing the issues at hand.  

  • Potential blind spot: This approach may tend to avoid addressing the real pain points in a clear, concise manner for fear of further disrupting the relationship or increasing emotional friction. It may be helpful to remember that authentic connection is rooted in honesty and transparency.  At a minimum, we owe that to the other person.

A power executor might seek to resolve conflict as a priority action item so the business activities can continue moving ahead. They might try to resolve conflict by rearranging or reprioritizing duties. They may very well see conflict resolution as an accomplishment to be checked off.  

  • Potential blind spot: This approach could over-emphasize the importance of business activities as the motive to resolving conflict leaving people feeling unimportant. Integrating adaptability and flexibility when approaching conflict resolution may allow for a better outcome than  imagined.  

Our strengths can help us resolve conflict but if misinterpreted or applied unproductively, they may result in an escalation of conflict or a delay in addressing it.  It’s critical to the success of our relationships that we are aware of how our talents and strengths impact conflict resolution. In the end, it’s our responsibility to apply the strengths that increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Copyright © 2023 Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved. Gallup® and CliftonStrengths® are trademarks of Gallup, Inc.

Sara Harvey

Founder & President, innertelligence

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