I often use the DISC Model of Human Behavior as a tool in my training sessions. One of the key ideas to draw from the model is that about 35% of people are more task oriented and about 65% of people are more people oriented.
Task oriented people tend to focus on the task at hand even in the presence of other people. They often view everything as a task. Sometimes, they even view relationships as a task or a project.
People oriented individuals tend to focus on relationships and people ahead of tasks. They tend to view things through a relationship filter. Often, they think about tasks with regard to how the tasks will impact other people.
There is nothing inherently wrong with either perspective. They are just different.
Most people have a blend of the two perspectives that can change based on their environment. Most people also tend to “lean” a little to one side or the other in most situations.
The difference between these two perspectives can create quite a problem during conflict resolution conversations. In this post, I will specifically address three tips to help task oriented individuals resolve conflicts with people oriented individuals more effectively.
1) Acknowledge their feelings
While you may “think” your way through problems, recognize that they often “feel” their way through them. They may even “feel” about things that you see as purely factual (money or time for example).
2) Soften your voice tones
Task oriented people often speak in direct and factual tones. Lighten up. Smile. Relax. Your effort to come across “nicer” will probably help them receive your message more clearly.
3) Exercise patience with them
If they are heavily slanted towards the people oriented perspective, they may struggle with reaching a decision that impacts other people. Remember that they are probably not trying to irritate you. Most likely, they just don't want anyone to be offended or hurt by their actions.
As you work and interact with people who are more people oriented than you, remember to keep your primary focus on understanding their perspective before you offer yours. This one act will carry you far in your efforts to resolve conflicts.