In my last blog post, I gave three tips to help task oriented people resolve conflict with people oriented individuals. In this post, I’ll change the perspective by suggesting three tips that go the other direction.
1) Express what you “think” rather than how you “feel.”
If you have a stronger people orientation than task orientation, you likely process interactions with others based on how you feel about them and the situation. This perspective may even apply when you discuss factual issues like money, time, data, etc. I have observed many interactions that escalated out-of-control when one person spoke in terms of feelings while the other person spoke in terms of thoughts. If you want to connect with a task-oriented person so that they really understand you, stay focused on the facts. (Seven Ways to Improve Your Communication During a Conflict provides some more insights in this area.)
2) Get to the point quickly
Think carefully about what you want to say, and then say it as directly as possible. If you stay focused on facts more than feelings, a direct and to-the-point statement will help a task oriented person understand your perspective more clearly. The longer you talk, the more frustrated they will likely become. As their frustration grows,their ability to listen will decrease.
3) Focus on actions to move forward
This tip builds on the first tip. Task oriented people tend to think in terms of what they can “do” to move forward. They often want to get moving rather than talk about past events or feelings. The more you focus on future actions to “fix” the problem, the more you improve the odds that they will engage with you in a positive way.
As you work and interact with people who are more task oriented than you, remember to keep your primary focus on future plans and actions. This effort on your part will reduce the discomfort they have with discussing feelings and will move you towards resolution.
Here’s another page with some tips for building a connection with others.