Do you find it hard to deal with all the different personality types in your family? You and most of the world! Families are strange… bound together by family ties, common experiences and usually genetics, but so often, individual members are very different and personalities can clash! This can lead to lots of family conflict.
You can’t just ignore conflict. So how do you resolve it? You can learn to understand the different personality types in your family, so that when conflict arises, you know the best way to approach a difficult situation.
The four main personality types
Personalities exist on a continuum and are hard to categorise. But for the sake of keeping things simple, personalities are divided into 4 main types. Most people are a combination of different types, or share traits of more than one type.
If your family is open to the idea, sit down with everyone and talk about the personality types and where each member fits. This will give you a better understanding of what motivates everyone, and how to approach the different personality types when dealing with conflict.
1. The leader
Leaders are direct, competitive and assertive. They are good at taking charge of situations and finding quick solutions in an emergency, however they can also come across as blunt and controlling.
Leaders appreciate recognition, competence, honesty and hard work.
When in conflict with a leader…
Remember that they like to be in control. This doesn’t mean that you should just give them control, but making them feel powerless will only escalate the conflict. Focus on giving them recognition and appreciation for what they are doing, before addressing the things you are not happy with.
2. The thinker
Thinkers are structured, organised and cautious. You can depend on a thinker to come up with well thought out solutions. They like making lists. However, sometimes thinkers can be overly critical, inflexible and even passive-aggressive.
Thinkers appreciate respect, following through on action and thoughtful insight.
When in conflict with a thinker…
Think like a thinker. Thinkers are motivated by structure, so show them that your side of the argument is well thought out. It’s also important to listen to a thinker, because they are good at analysing and being organised, it’s likely that what they have to say is important and valid.
3. The talker
Talkers are spontaneous, extroverted and charming. They are naturally optimistic and adapt to change well. This makes them great to have around to boost morale, however they can be distracting and not take important things seriously.
Talkers appreciate social relationships, teamwork, approval and acceptance.
When in conflict with a talker…
Give them some of the attention and fun that they crave, while also focusing on your needs and desires. It’s important to create this balance with a talker. Remember that talkers are motivated by curiosity and enjoy doing things together, so you can inspire them with teamwork and adventure.
4. The peacemaker
Peacemakers are sensitive to the needs of others, and their easygoing way of speaking, acting and behaving can soothe conflict that has become aggressive. Peacemakers however are prone to people pleasing, putting the needs of others before their own which can lead to resentment.
Peacemakers appreciate cooperation, unity, peace and loyalty.
When in conflict with a peacemaker…
Encourage them to speak their mind and ask them about their needs. Peacemakers are so focused on others and hate conflict, that they are willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of peace. While this is great for everyone else, it is not so great for the peacemaker who’s needs are just as important.
Taking the time to learn about the different personalities in your family can really help you understand each other and communicate better, resulting in conflict being resolved more quickly. While it’s impossible to keep everyone happy, if you can respond rather than react to conflict, there’s a much greater chance that you can work through your differences and move forward in a way that allows everyone to respect each other.