Coping with Conflict

coping with conflictWhen dealing with stress and conflict each Enneagram type has its own coping strategy.  These coping strategies have been categorized by Enneagram scholars into three groups:

  • The Positive Outlook Group:  Types 2, 7, and 9 manage conflict and difficulty by reframing disappointment in some positive way.
  • The Emotional Realness Group:  When conflict and difficulty arise, types 4, 6, and 8 look for an emotional response from others that mirrors their concerns.
  • The Competency Group:  Types 1, 3, and 5 manage conflict and difficulty by putting aside their personal feelings, and instead, strive to be objective, effective and competent.

Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages, strengths and weaknesses.  Using coping strategies from each group leads to effective conflict resolution and creative problem-solving.  Below are suggestions for ways to incorporate multiple coping strategies into conflict resolution at work and home.

Coping with Conflict at Work

  • When stressful situations and conflicts arise, try consulting a colleague of a different type, ideally one from a different group.  If you are a competency type, go ask a positive outlook or emotional realness type (or both) how they would handle the situation.
  • When big issues are confronting your organization, make sure all three groups are represented on any team tasked with finding solutions.

Coping with Conflict at Home
When stressful situations and conflicts arise at home, collecting impartial, diverse opinions is more challenging, but not impossible.

  • Close friends of different types can often provide much-needed perspective.  For the best results, ask for their candor.
  • Create a roundtable with “representatives” from all three groups. If need be, fill-in missing representatives with imagery ones.  Ask each group how they would respond to the conflict or concern.  (Speculate honestly about what your imaginary representatives would say.)  See what you learn.