Resolving Conflict for Your Enneagram TypeSep 12, 2022
It’s a natural part of human interaction. Conflict can help clear the air, create new options, and let other voices be heard.
Or it can cause misunderstanding, frustration, and simmering, long-term resentment.
Conflict has pros and cons, and modern leaders need to know how and when to manage and resolve conflict effectively and efficiently.
So how can leaders navigate conflict in healthy, constructive ways without spending their time solving disagreements?
First, let’s understand conflict
Conflict arises because of disagreement. Conflicts might be about a procedure, a course of action, a timeframe, or a client interaction. Disputes between co-workers will happen in all organizations, even ones that function well together.
Outside of the workplace, conflict has a negative connotation. But inside the work environment, conflict can be the opportunity to get creative, learn to work together more collaboratively, and create a safe environment to voice one’s opinions, questions, or objections.
When conflict is understood and handled with understanding and empathy, it can help move projects along faster, dissolve tensions, create clarity, empower employees to engage before an issue arises, facilitate better communication, and give everyone more ownership and responsibility.
On the other hand, when conflict is not addressed or addressed poorly, it can become time-consuming, halt work progress, increase tension and confusion, stop the flow of communication, and drop productivity.
Minor arguments can devolve into employees who cannot work together by harboring negative feelings and affecting everyone in the workplace. In the extreme, it could cause employees to quit, leaving the organization with the cost of hiring and training, and the potential for future issues if the original conflicts are not resolved.
Managing and addressing conflict must be a core competency of today’s leaders. It will save you time, energy, and money and model how to successfully manage conflict for your employees and leaders.
Working with different people with distinct views, opinions, personalities, and skills can be difficult. The soft skills of navigating personalities are necessary but not always taught or modeled to leaders.
So how do talented leaders manage conflict?
Imagine if you could understand what creates conflict and mitigate it early.
Picture your workplace where conflicts are handled with skill, valued as helpful, and you feel adept at managing it.
Sounds great, right? But leaving all the onus on you as the leader in managing all the conflicts is asking a lot when you have a million other decisions, interactions, discussions, and tasks to handle.
Now picture your employees knowing what causes them conflict and how they would like to resolve it, enabling them to handle conflict constructively and independently without taking your time, energy, and attention?
The Key to Managing Conflict
Knowing and applying the Enneagram in your workplace is one of the best tools for understanding, managing, and resolving conflict - for both leaders and employees.
The Enneagram is a personality typing system specifically designed to help us understand how we see the world.
Each of us falls into one of the nine Enneagram types. Our type helps us understand the motivations behind our actions, reactions, thoughts, and habits.
Your Enneagram type can illuminate:
- your strengths, challenges, & motivations,
- how you communicate,
- how you relate to others, and
- what causes you conflict, including ways you like to resolve it.
When we know and understand our Enneagram type, we know and understand ourselves exponentially better. We can become more self-aware, more proactive in our personal growth, and able to make meaningful decisions and changes that transform our lives.
And the more we know and understand ourselves, the more we know what causes us conflict and how to best resolve it.
Our Enneagram-based coaching provides the unique opportunity to learn your type and how it affects all aspects of your life, including what causes conflict for you.
Why Knowing your Enneagram Type Matters
Each of us sees the world differently, which is the basis of our Enneagram type. And what causes us conflict and how we resolve it is directly impacted by our type.
For example, let’s take the Type Six. The Type Six person is thoughtful, analytical, and a great problem solver. They are skilled at being prepared if something happens, calm in a crisis, and are natural troubleshooters.
Sixes want certainty and trust in people and situations. They want to trust the people around them, including co-workers, to be honest, reliable, and committed. They tend to focus on what could go wrong as a way to create some certainty and be prepared if things fall apart.
Knowing this about a Six, can you see what might cause conflict for them?
When a Six experiences a lack of trust, genuineness, or commitment, they feel frustrated and afraid or worried that they can’t trust your word or actions. This fear creates conflict between the Six, who seeks certainty and trust, and the person they perceive lacks both or has broken their trust.
As part of the Reactive group in the Enneagram, Sixes respond to conflict with emotions. They want to express their feelings, start an intense analysis of the person or situation, and can be highly defensive (especially if others question their trust or commitment.)
When becoming self-aware about conflict, Sixes can:
- recognize patterns that are creating friction,
- observe their reactions with objectivity and an alternate perspective,
- release their need for total trust and certainty and be more flexible with others, and
- proactively express their need for honest communication, reliable actions, and a commitment to the project, team, or task.
On the other hand, the causes, reactions, and resolutions of conflict in a Type Nine are very different.
Type Nines are easygoing and affable, good listeners, able to see and understand many points of view, and good facilitators and mediators.
Nines want harmony and peace in the people and situations around them. They tend to focus on bringing people together, ensuring all voices are heard, and listening with empathy. Nines need the people around them, including co-workers, to be flexible, easygoing, stable, and predictable to create an environment of harmony and peace.
Knowing this about Nines, can you see what could cause conflict for them?
When a Nine experiences rudeness or hostility in others, feels a disruption of harmony or peace, is confronted, or feels unsupported, they feel frustrated and angry (even though they might not realize it’s anger they are feeling.) This anger creates conflict between the Nine, who seeks harmony, and the person they perceive disrupts it.
As part of the Positive Outlook group in the Enneagram, Nines respond to conflict with positive reframing or avoiding it. They don’t want to create more conflict, disharmony, or ill will with others, so they avoid or remove themselves from conflict. This avoidance can lead to simmering resentments, passive-aggressive actions by the Nine, and unresolved issues.
When becoming self-aware about conflict, Nines can:
- recognize patterns that are creating friction,
- share their side of the story, including their opinions, needs, and wants,
- affirm their feelings of anger or frustration, and
- tap into their skill of seeing many viewpoints to explore alternate perspectives.
Each Enneagram type seeks something different - an element that makes them feel their best. For Sixes, it’s certainty and trust. For Nines, it’s peace and harmony. How they react when those elements are missing creates conflicts. When they know this, they can be self-aware and develop personal growth skills to manage themselves better before, during, and after conflicts.
And knowing your Enneagram types, leaders and colleagues will know what to do to support each other in conflicts. Nines might need more support in engaging in their conflict because it can feel like creating the disharmony they are avoiding. Sixes might need more time to express their feelings so they feel heard and can trust you to open up about their conflict.
You and your employees don’t need to be experts in the Enneagram. But working with a certified Enneagram teacher and coach can be the solution you’ve been looking for.
The Easy Button for Conflict Resolution
If there were an easy button, we’d all be pushing it, right? There isn’t, but there is a way to make resolving conflict easier, faster, more productive, and less time-consuming.
When leaders and employees are self-aware and understand themselves and each other better, they bring their best selves to work. They know what pushes their buttons, how to handle it, and take responsibility for their actions.
Most conflict resolution platforms focus on one method or system to manage conflict. But taking a one-size-fits-all approach to conflict resolution doesn’t work for everyone. And expecting leaders to be conflict resolution masters is not always practical, efficient, or effective.
Coaching with the Enneagram teaches individuals their Enneagram type and what creates conflict for them.
Our Enneagram-based coaching takes the burden from leaders and empowers employees to know and own their conflict, handle it productively, and understand that it can be a source of clarity, understanding, and stronger relationships.
Through individual coaching, we help employees and leaders know their Enneagram type and what it means for them. We dig into the patterns that emerge in conflict and help individuals understand how to notice and mitigate it proactively, work through it constructively, and understand what creates conflict for others.
It might not be as simple as an easy button, but it can be more simple than you might think.
We give individuals the knowledge and the tools to be self-aware of what initiates conflict for them and the steps to handle it. And we teach them what creates conflict for their colleagues so they can be more aware, understanding, and collaborative.
We help colleagues understand that some Enneagram types handle conflict with emotions, needing to express them and feel heard before they can solve the problem at hand. Others handle conflict with logic, pushing feelings to the side and moving into problem-solving mode. And others handle conflict by avoiding it or reframing it to appear lighter than it really is.
When your employees and colleagues know and understand what creates conflict for them, how they handle it, and what they need to resolve it, they can:
- be proactive in stopping conflict before it starts,
- take ownership of their actions,
- approach another with an understanding of what they need, and
- take on the responsibility of resolving conflict instead of passing it on to you as the leader.
When you are ready to create a workplace where conflict creates understanding and empathy, moves projects along faster, dissolves tensions, empowers proactive engagement and communication between employees, and hands responsibility and ownership to those experiencing conflict, we are ready to coach you and your team.
We custom tailor our Conflict and Communication Workshop for your team, working with each member individually and as a group. We also offer ongoing coaching packages and team facilitation. Book a free consultation to learn more about our coaching offers.
Want to know more about our Enneagram-based coaching? Book your free discovery call here: