A huge part of any conflict stems from miscommunication, which, more often than not, results from a lack of understanding. This lack of understanding is the sure fire outcome of the absence of acceptance that each individual is different.
What is easy to overlook is that everyone has his own sets of deep-rooted values and belief systems that may be entirely different even from those he associates with.
Unfortunately, we tend to focus too much on our own ideals and hold them above everyone else’s that we end up judging, belittling, and lambasting others when a disagreement occurs.
Whether in the workplace or in personal relationships, effective communication with regard dealing with different personalities can be summarized in steps:
“You are you and I am me.”
The first part of the process is realizing that, indeed, people possess different personalities. It is foolish to believe that everyone thinks the same way, feels the same way, and reacts towards situations the same way. Even spouses and close friends who share a plethora of similarities often have glaring differences that either compliment or cause conflict with each other. Such is the fact of being human.
“You are different from me and that’s okay.”
The next step is accepting these differences in each other. Most people, unsurprisingly, get stuck at step one and never find themselves truly accepting the differences of others. Pride and ego get the best of us and we find ourselves defending what we know and hold dear above working together. Lack of acceptance could lead to isolation and an overall failure in communication.
“Two differences can make one similarity.”
Another difficult aspect of dealing with other personalities is adapting to others’ differences. This takes a lot of introspection, analysis, and compromise. One must be willing to bend backward and find a middle ground wherein the parties involved can operate without anyone conceding their beliefs, principles, and values. Through consistent and constant adaptation among those involved, it can be assured that any common goal can be reached.
“How do we make our differences work together?”
The last step is closely tied to adaptation and is basically its execution. Through finding a middle ground among people, individuals can work together and use their differences to achieve a common goal. What is easy to overlook is that, instead of commonly leading to conflict, our differences can make us complement one another towards something both parties want to achieve.
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