Perfect Examples of How our Personal Strengths can be Misinterpreted by Others when they are Misapplied!

Have you ever been in situations where you were being your best self, but someone misinterpreted your good intentions and suddenly you found yourself in the midst of interpersonal conflict?

As a leader, you may have experienced working hard to inspire or motivate your team to achieve a specific task or goal, when instead, you were met with resistance and turmoil which seemingly arose out of nowhere.

We all have personal filters that distort how we interpret a situation and how we see others…

The reality is, that we have all experienced these situations throughout our lives.  And like many people, you may be struggling to understand how and why the situation led others into conflict with you.  

When we are not fully aware of the true motives driving behavior, your own and others, (we call this the Motivational Value System or MVS), we often misapply our top strengths in a way that can inadvertently lead others into conflict.  

Most interpersonal conflicts in our lives, whether personal or professional, are derived from two common reasons: misunderstanding and misinterpretation. 

We all have personal filters that distort how we interpret a situation and how we see others in that situation.  This often leads to developing an incorrect perception of the other person’s true motives or intent.

So, how can we manage or even avoid unnecessary interpersonal conflicts?

First, we must start by realizing how important it is to focus on Emotional Intelligence development and training, as a leader.

Secondly, you need to become aware of your own personal Motivational Value System (MVS).  Understanding “why” you are driven to act or behave in a certain way, especially, in terms of your concern for People, Performance and Process.  Especially, what are the motives under two main conditions:

  • When things are going well
  • When you are in conflict

Then, you must identify your top strengths in order to understand how these can easily be misapplied or overdone and how it impacts others negatively.  Most often, we tend to turn up the intensity and frequency in which we use our top strengths.  However, when we do this, we often put others into conflict.

For example:

  • If you have a Blue (People) Motivational Value System, you are motivated by protection, growth, and welfare of others. However, if you are overly Helpful (Strength) to others and doing things for them that they do not want or need; others will perceive you as being Smothering (Overdone Strength).
    • Your intent is really good, but when it’s misapplied it has an unintentional result which put others in conflict with you.
  • If you have Red (Performance) Motivational Value System, you are motivated by task accomplishment and achieving results. However, if you are very passionate and Competitive (Strength) you may come across as too combative, argumentative, or confronting in your desire to set goals and take decisive actions.  Others will perceive you as being overly Aggressive (Overdone Strength).
    • Although, as a leader, your focus and intent are to accomplish the results by getting everyone involved and engaged, you will put others into conflict when this strength is misapplied.
  • If you have a Green (Process) Motivational Value System, you are motivated by meaningful order and thinking things through. However, if you are overly Analytical (Strength), you run the risk of getting lost in the concepts and details that don’t really matter as much to people with different MVS’. As a result, others often perceive you as being too Obsessed (Overdone Strength) and delaying the opportunity to achieve the results.
    • Although your intent is to ensure all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed, you put others into conflict when this strength is overly applied.
  • If you have a Hub (Perceptive) Motivational Value System, you are driven to be flexible and accommodating to others or situations. However, if you are too Option-Oriented (Strength), you may struggle with not having a clear aim or direction creating a potential for an unproductive situation. As a result, others will perceive you as being too Indecisive (Overdone Strength).
    • Although your intent is to be accommodating and to work with others by being open to other options, you actually put others into conflict when this strength is overdone.

The above examples demonstrate how our intent can be easily be misunderstood by others.  Their perception can lead them into conflict with you because your strengths are being overdone or misapplied – we refer to this as “Conflict Triggers”. 

Conflict Triggers are defined as an event, behavior, situation, or perception that threatens, or has the potential to threaten a person’s self-worth.  People only experience conflict about things that are important to them.

Therefore, learning how to avoiding and managing conflict triggers is a big part of effective conflict management and effective communication.

Our goal is to apply the Relationship Awareness Theory which provides a simple, common language for people to understand the motives behind behaviours, prevent and manage conflict effectively, and to engage in meaningful dialogue.  When applied within teams and organizations, this language dramatically improves the quality of working relationship, workplace performance, and team effectiveness.

Becoming a more effective leader and communicator starts with developing your awareness!

The TotalSDI Suite of assessments is the perfect tool that helps elevate your emotional intelligence to the next level. The foundational insights learned in the TotalSDI when combined with your SDI assessment results and One-on-One Coaching, it becomes a very powerful and effective leadership development experience.

If you’d like to learn more about how our clients are benefitting from the TotalSDI, and how we leveraged this very effective tool as part of our Leadership and Life Coaching service, contact us today. 

Let’s schedule a Free 15-min Call to determine if our service is the right fit for you!

Ricardo Camara

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