Monday, November 18, 2013

Balancing Conflict

Clearly, I'm not participating in NaMoBloPo, or any other like-minded acronym, but I have been subscribing to The Daily Post (I know, it doesn't show), which suggested conflict as inspiration (two weeks ago - yeah, I'm behind).

Last week, I took a class on Communication with Style, but didn't really have a chance to digest the info (even though our facilitator suggested we journal immediately, he then proceeded to TALK during the entire time allotment, so I couldn't focus).

I wanted to take the class to focus on conflict. The class was based on The Social Styles Handbook (Full Disclosure: Connected to my Affiliate link which could generate a small income for me if anyone in addition to my mom ever clicked it), which breaks down communication styles into four quadrants: Analyticals, Drivers, Expressives, and Amiables. Not surprisingly, I am an Expresive with an Analytical rising.

Strengths of an Expressive: passionate, creative; weaknesses: lack focus, lacks attention to detail. Thankfully, my Analytical rising generally balances that out with almost opposite strengths, which include detail-oriented and rational. The one weakness which carries through both styles affects decision-making. An Expressive may be too quick to make the wrong decision, while an Analytical will want to know absolutely everything (usually impossible) before reaching a conclusion.*

I can definitely say that making a decision remains a weak point for me in all aspects of life.

I pick my outfits based on which pants are "next" in line from where they hang in my closet. I take that same sort of approach for picking CDs in the car (all home-made shuffles for variety) and recipes. My linear approach frees me from actually deciding since it's been decided for me.

And now that I think about it in terms of conflict, minimizes inner conflict.

In the class, we broke into groups of our dominant style characteristics. We were surprised to realize that all of us Expressives hated conflict and tried to avoid it as much as possible. We agreed that, none of us being in our twenties anymore, we had all learned the hard way what we can be like when we're too upset and had learned instead to just shut down completely.

Of course, complete avoidance doesn't necessarily work, either. As with everything, we - make that I - have to find a balance.

I am learning to take some time to let myself shut down, vent to friends about what's bugging me and let myself go through the worst of the emotions before I attempt to address the issue. Many times, however, the issue has diminished so that I don't really have to deal with it anymore, but then it usually goes and rears its ugly head again and I am back in the same position.

So what I need to work on is to put on my big girl pants already and deal with some of these issues. The two hour class was nowhere near enough time, but in reading through the supplemental materials, I think I might be able to get somewhere if I can focus on these three steps:

1. Determine their dominant communication style.
2. Then, get to the heart of the issue: the why, the how, the what.
3. Flex my style to accommodate theirs. Or, if I can't determine what their style is, then limit my communication to address the why, the how, and the what.

*So that you're not left with only half the quadrant, Drivers tend to be great at getting things done, even if their communication style might come across as rude or abrupt. Amiables like to get along with everyone and help hold a team together, but may not feel comfortable adding their own opinions or insight without some coaxing.

No comments: