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Monday, June 6, 2011

Using MBTI® Type to Understand and Deal Effectively With Conflict

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Written by Karen Gonzalez
Conflict: to come into collision or disagreement; be contradictory, at variance, or in opposition; clash (source: 

We have all dealt with conflict in one way or another – whether it was regarding a mild issue or something that has escalated into a bigger issue causing a cluster of emotions such as stress, anger and maybe even quarrel. Though some people seem to deal with conflict much better than others, it is healthy for everyone to learn that we all have our ways to deal with conflict in order to assuage any negative outcomes that may arise if not recognized. According to Introduction to Type®and Conflict, "although it may appear to be about a simple, straightforward issue, more often than not conflict exists because some core element of trust, beliefs, authority, or passion is being challenged.”

I need to point out that when we talk about conflict, we are not just talking about obvious situations such as sibling rivalry or a couple arguing about one not pulling their weight in doing the house chores. Conflict is present all around us and if we don’t know how to deal with it, we could be ticking time bombs when a situation that we don’t know how to overcome arises. While arguing (or possibly yelling) with a sibling can be seen as the norm for some, we can’t exactly react the same way with our co-workers or bosses when a conflict arises in the workplace. Using your knowledge of the Myers-Briggs® (MBTI®) assessment is a way to learn to identify your own conflict triggers and how to manage them as well as those of others around you. According to the booklet, “by incorporating type awareness, and particularly awareness of how people of the sixteen different personality types tend to present themselves in a conflict, we can better strategize how to approach conflict, communicate when in conflict with others, and resolve conflict situations.”

Using type for conflict management can help you be more productive in your work settings and in your personal relationships. Introduction to Type® and Conflict discusses how understanding personality type can guide you in conflict situations by helping you discover how both are linked and by teaching you a model for harnessing type awareness in conflict management. There is a process for beginning the discovery of your own type and the exploration of two specific preferences (for your type) will show you the relationship with conflict. Helping you to not only manage conflict for yourself but being able to navigate through conflict with someone whose preferences differ from yours is what you will learn for better positive outcomes of conflict in the future.   

Each section in the booklet covers the following categories for each type:
  • What they contribute 
  • What they need from others 
  •  How others may see them 
  •  Under stress they may 
  •  Conflict generators 
  •  Blind spots 
  •  Areas for development
For the next few weeks, I will be pulling a few insights from the booklet for each of the 16 MBTI types on “conflict generators”. Here is the first one: 


ISTJs feel that conflict is something that needs to be dealt with so they can get on with life, therefore they need to reach closure or resolution during conflict situations. Conflict generators for them include: Challenges to their authority; People who “waste time” by talking too much-particularly about personal matters; lack of follow-through on decisions. 

“Like” us on Facebook ( and follow us on Twitter ( to get all of the 16 insights that we will be posting!

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