Signals of Values Problems That Can Generate Conflict

Signals of Values Problems That Can Generate Conflict

One of the most difficult issues to address in conflict is a clash of values. Values are developed over time and are unique from one person to the other.

When it is hard to understand someone else’s motivation, it is often because they place a much higher value on some values than you do. The more extreme they react, the more important it is in their mind. If you do not pay attention to these signs, you will find it very hard to establish rapport and a fruitful dialogue.

One can easily see major differences in some values. They are at opposite ends of the scale.

Equality vs Status

Agreement vs Competition

Feelings vs Action and Facts

Interdependence vs Autonomy

Status vs Teamwork

Certainty vs Ambiguity

Relations vs Working Alone and Self-reliance

Fairness vs Competition

Integrity vs Politics and Ambiguity

What values do you place most importance on? How willing are you to compromise on your values? What are you willing to fight for?


Signals of Value Problems

When you hear certain phrases, it is best not to ignore them, they may well be important signals of fundamental values and needs that the other party has.

That is not fair” refers to values of equality and fairness.

Show some respect” demonstrates a need for status and identity.

Why always make such a fuss?” points to a person who requires agreement and consensus.

If you can’t stand the heat, get out,” may underline some competitiveness.

You don’t give a damn about how I feel” shows a need for respect and reliance on instinct.

Stop complaining ad gets on with it” refers to an action oriented individual.

We are all in this together,” demonstrates an orientation to interdependence and teamwork.

“Let me do it myself” shows a need for autonomy.

I know how to do it” refers to a need for status and autonomy.

Don’t patronize me” shows a need for equality, autonomy and status.

Please listen” is a message for inclusion and status.

In my career as a HR Executive, as a Coach and in Labour Relations, I have developed the belief that people use words and phrases for a specific purpose either willingly or by instinct. Words create worlds. Listen very carefully to what people are really saying. If you have doubts about their meaning, simply ask for clarification. It will help you understand what the other person really means and needs.

What do you know about the values of your counterpart?

What is most important to them?

What questions can you ask to understand their fundamental needs?

What value do you really place on understanding what is important to them?

Jean-Paul Gagnon, ACC, CHRP is a professional coach, certified as CINERGY Conflict Management Coach. He is also a trained practitioner in conflict resolution. He is a mediator in the workplace and a volunteer community mediator. He has over 35 years of experience in Human Resource Management.                    

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