The most common cause of interpersonal conflict that we see as a group of coaches, are behvioural conflicts where over time differences in behaviours start to annoy. You know what I mean, interuptions when you are concentrating or perhaps your partner not letting you finish a sentence or even sometimes a lack of enthusiasm for your ideas.
In other words where behaviours or indeed sometimes a lack of behaviour, create emotions and thoughts that on occasion cause irrational and negative responses.
I have noticed that these type of conflicts seem to be at a height after partners have been together for between five and ten years. After this they tend to reduce but this is not true in every case.
There are an infinite variety of behaviours that people can display but people do seem to have a preferred style of behaving or operating. Having said that, people can also change and adapt their behaviour to suit the situation. In fact psycologists believe that our prefered style of behaving entirely consists of learned behaviour. From an early age we learn what behaviour generates results for us as individuals in our particular situation. There is absolutely no evidence that any behaviour is genetically transmitted.
I have noticed how some people are especially cautious whereas others seem to enjoy breaking social rules, some people are quiet and some like to talk all the time. People are different.
So, what if you were someone assertive and your partner was meek (opposite ends of the scale you might say) how would you feel about each others behaviour? I guess the meek person might think that the assertive person was a bully and perhaps the assertive person might think the meek person was weak! We start to judge people and make assumptions. It’s what human beings do naturally.
What if the meek person recognised that a situation called for someone to act assertively and to take charge of a situation. It is likely that the meek person would value the assertive persons behaviour. This is the key, understanding leads to valuing.
It is rare that we consider the impact of our behaviour on others and I have to say meek does not mean weak or assertive mean bully. I am sure most assertive people would be appalled to think that is how they could be percieved.
So when we are talking about interpersonal conflict and trying to find ways to work within a team (which might just consist of two people) it is really important that any behavioural differeces are identified and explained so that each partner can learn to value those differences and perhaps understand that these different behaviours aren’t a personal chosen response to them.
This is why we find our Relationships coaching sessions work so well, as we prepare a behavioural profile for each of the partners and talk them through the results.
When we talk people through their results, there is almost always a silence followed by someone bursting out laughing. Either laughing at their result or an embarassed laugh where they identify where its been going wrong.
What I find particularily disapointing is where people have broken their relationship without learning about this. Jack Spratt and his wife seemed to have it sorted didn’t they? If you remember the nursery rhyme, Jack could eat no fat and his wife could eat no lean, so between them they licked the platter clean. Very often behavioural differences, where each value those differences, can make the strongest partnership.
If you want to learn more or if you think our relationship package can help, please click below for a chat with Pete