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Tuesday
Apr292014

« 11. Personality clashes: When Feeling meets Thinking! »

Written by Rachel Green. Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute. MBTI coach with over 25 years MBTI experience, and author of the new book: "INFJ: What's it like to be one."

Part of being emotionally intelligent is being able to reduce or avoid interpersonal conflict.

People with higher levels of emotional intelligence have been found to have lower levels of interpersonal conflict. Is this you?

 How can you avoid personality clashes so that your differences have a low emotional impact on yourself and other people?

EQ insights: Why does conflict occur?

Have you ever finished a conversation dismayed or irritated by the way it turned out? Have you ever made a seemingly trivial comment only for it to blow out of all proportion and develop into conflict?

Conflict often occurs because we interpret the same things in different ways. When you understand how you can interpret things differently from other people you may be able to reduce your frustrations and conflict.

In our MBTI personality types workshop we talk about 16 different personality types, the different interpretations they can place on events and how to bridge the differences and lessen conflict.

Two of the personality differences covered in the course are between people who have a "Thinking" preference, and those who have a "Feeling" preference.

People with a "Thinking" preference have a fundamental need to know and find the truth using objective, logical, cause and effect data. They use this information to make decisions. In contrast, people with a "Feeling" preference consider people and take their personal values and feelings  into account when they make decisions.

Which preference do you think you have? Do you know? If you don't you may be upsetting people without knowing it or people may be upsetting you without your knowing why.

Different types have different aspects of emotional intelligence they find harder and easier. However, developing their emotional intelligence is vitality important for each type. Come join with me in this exciting new emotional intelligence coaching package and I will make sure it is personalised to you and your type.

EQ insights: Mother and Son in Conflict

The other day I was privy to a discussion between a middle-aged man and his mother. The conversation seemed fairly bland and neutral and was centred around some seemingly harmless childhood experiences concerning food. Suddenly daggers were drawn and the two were getting defensive and hostile towards each other.

When I started to think about their personality types it was clear that these were contributing to the hostility. The man involved had a strong "Thinking preference" and the woman a clear "Feeling preference" and these differences were clashing.

He had commenced the conversation by stating that he still didn't like beetroot and never had as a child. His mother responded quite peacefully agreeing that he hadn't liked beetroot as a child. She then added, "Once I knew that, I stopped giving it to you, you were about 3 years old." He said, harmlessly, "Oh I remember being fed it a lot longer than that until I was 7 or 8."

So far, so good - it was all being discussed in a good natured way ... and then the animosity started.

"I did not make you eat it after you were 3 years old," she replied, obviously hurt.

"You did so, I vividly remember eating it well past then - at the Christmas party when I was 6, for instance, I had to eat beetroot. I can name many times when I ate it", he replied defensively.

"I did not make you eat it after you were 3 years old," she restated, getting more upset.

And on it went - until she got more hurt and he got more angry.

Finally he said, "Are you accusing me of lying?"

"No, of course I'm not," she argued back.

"Well it sure seems like it to me" he said, clamming up and refusing to continue the discussion.

The woman bristled!

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EQ insights: What caused the conflict?

What was the conflict about? The parent-child relationship, personality differences or a lack of emotional intelligence?

It wasn't about beetroot, that's for sure! What happened from a personality perspective was that they both made different interpretations of the same statements. This then impacted on them emotionally. Their ability to handle these emotions then reflected their level of emotional intelligence.

We could say therefore that all three aspects impacted on the conflict: the parent-child relationship, personality differences and their emotional intelligence.

This is what I think happened.

The "Feeling preference" person had a very strong personal value system around being a good mother. It was very important for her to be seen as caring, nurturing and fully supportive of her children. These were strong emotional needs of hers. When she heard him say, "Oh I remember being fed them a lot longer than that until I was 7 or 8," she thought he implied she wasn't a good mother, and this produced a strong emotional clash in her. She may not, at that point, have had sufficient emotional intelligence to soothe herself.

He on the other hand had a very strong need to be considered honest, to be speaking the truth and to be acknowledged for his ability to recall objective data accurately. Classic emotional needs for someone with a Thinking preference.

When he heard her say, "I stopped feeding you beetroot at 3 years of age", instead of realising she was trying to show she cared, he thought she must think he was not telling the truth. This caused some emotional friction, which in the heat of the moment required high levels of emotional intelligence in order to manage it.

He had absolutely no intention of implying to his mother that she had not been a good mother - he was simply reciting his memories which he needed to believe were accurate and true.

She had no intention of implying to him that he was lying or deliberately distorting the truth - she simply wanted him to know what a good mother she'd been.

However, because of their personality preferences, both interpreted the statements in the way that was not intended and took personal offence at what was said. Personality differences undoubtedly cause conflict and can have a strong emotional impact, especially on opposite types. Understanding your own personality is something you can gain through our 1-1 MBTI personality and communication coaching.

High levels of emotional intelligence are needed in order to avoid becoming embroiled in conflict. High levels of emotional intelligence are also needed in order to manage conflict should it arise.

Different types have different aspects of emotional intelligence they find harder and easier. However, developing their emotional intelligence is vitality important for each type. Come join with me in this exciting new emotional intelligence coaching package and I will make sure it is personalised to you and your type.

EQ insights: The value of understanding yourself.

The value of understanding yourself and others in this way, through your personality preferences, is that such a frustrating encounter could easily have been remedied. Instead both were left feeling wounded and angry.

Had the man known about type he could have said, "I find it hard to believe my memories aren't true - but I know that you worked hard at being a good mum and looked after me well as a kid." A nice compromise!

Or, if she had had the knowledge and emotional intelligence she might have said, "I find it hard to believe I would have force fed you something you didn't like because I cared for you - but I know your memory is excellent and you'd only speak the truth as you see it." Another nice compromise!

There are an endless number of possible statements that could have been made that would have kept everything moving nicely - these are just a couple of examples to show how a compromise could have been reached.

High levels of emotional intelligence along with in-depth understanding of the personality types, would have been needed to facilitate such compromises though.

The T/F difference is only one type of difference that causes clashes or leaves us perplexed, there are many others. We cover 16 different personalities in the "Getting on: MBTI Team building" course. 

If you don't know your type, or aren't working in a group, and would like to deepen your self-understanding, and avoid conflicts more, you can also receive 1-1 MBTI personality and communication coaching. This can happen face-to-face in Western Australia or over Skype wherever you are in the world. More details are available by clicking here.

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EQ insights: Don't let differences divide you

It's so easy to find fault with people - the more we do that the harder our lives become. In a society of increasing diversity, tolerance is becoming increasingly important.

The more you understand yourself and other people the easier it can be to accept the differences and avoid conflict - and that is emotionally intelligent.

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EQ at work, INFJ: Get to know your type, increase communication effectiveness and lower conflict

There is so much that you or your team can learn so that you develop greater understanding of, and skills with, your communication, personality and relationships at work and home. The EI Institute has a number of options to help you:

  1. You may find this book helpful to deepen your understanding of the communication differences between the types. It includes a whole section on bridging the differences, eg. between iNtuitives and Sensates, between Feelers and Thinkers; and it has a discussion on the differences between Judging and Perceiving types such as an INFP and an INFJ, and INFJ and an INTJ: "INFJ: What's it like to be one."
  2. If you are in Western Australia, a high energy, MBTI interactive team-building workshop can be organised for you: "Getting on: MBTI Team building".
  3. Meditation appeals to many introverts and we have a very popular audio-download on meditation called: "Happy Not Hassled". A perfect way to introvert and stay healthy.
  4. There is superior 1-1 coaching; and the MBTI is included as part of our smart leadership coaching package. You can find out your MBTI type and develop the skills you need, with Rachel Green.

For more details or to make a booking e-mail us now or pick up the phone and call us.