Do you ever tell people what they want to hear to keep the peace, even though you don’t completely agree with what you’re saying?
I’m cringing as I write, but I’m 100% guilty of this. If I’m working with a teaching colleague, for instance, and he asks me my opinion of an instructional strategy or lesson plan framework we’re putting together, I’ll often tell him I like the approach we’re taking even when I don’t.
I do this mostly when I know the approach is…
- Something he thought up
- Something he believes in strongly
- The strategy doesn’t violate my beliefs or values
I compromise thinking it will benefit our partnership, but I wish I were more forthright. It’s just that I absolutely hate interpersonal conflict.
My wife’s been calling me on the carpet recently. She tells me it’s a significant issue that won’t go away unless I do something about it. While I know she’s right, I’m so used to withdrawing, playing along, or working by myself to avoid a spat I don’t want to think about change.
Can you relate?
Is there ever a good reason why you and I should risk conflict? Are the possible gains worth the potential interpersonal turmoil and hurt?
Check out these 5 reasons you should consider “rocking the boat” more often.
1. You’ll preserve your personal integrity.
The first and arguably most important reason you should risk conflict is that you, as an INFJ, are a person of high ideals and values. As such, you’re happiest when you live in harmony with your personal standards. Playing along and saying what others want to hear, even when you disagree, may preserve the peace, but it also damages your integrity.
And by integrity, I mean living in a manner consistent with what you say you believe, as Ray Edwards explains it. We should aim to honor our core values at all times because they’re at the heart of who we are. And when we don’t, we’re a mess!
2. You’ll bring perspective.
Chances are you’re living and working with people who think differently than you – very differently. To be specific, most of the people in this world (about 73%) are sensors. They focus on the past or present and care about what they can observe with their five senses. They spend little time looking for patterns, meanings, and future opportunities.
While they don’t always admit it, they need you. They need your big picture perspective, creativity, drive to grow, strategic planning expertise, insight, and thoughtfulness. If you don’t speak up, they’ll miss out big time.
This is also the case because the best problem-solving and decision-making models move from…
- The facts of reality and the present (sensing)
- To causes, solutions, and future possibilities (intuition)
- To statistics, data, and the bottom line (thinking)
- To the impact on people, relationships, and society at large (feeling)
Like or not, you contribute vital information to the team. They need you to risk conflict.
3. You have good things to say.
For a long time, I failed to speak up due to lack of confidence. I didn’t know that my way of seeing the world was valid because it was so different than the way most other people I talked to thought. So I kept to myself.
I’ve since learned that many great leaders were and are people of vision, insight, and ideas. And those are just some of the gifts you bring to the table as an INFJ.
If you don’t have a ton of confidence in yourself at this moment, please borrow mine: You do have great things to contribute, and this world needs to hear from you.
4. It will turn out way better than you think.
Sometimes I imagine what will happen when I raise my voice and risk conflict. The pictures I conjure up are usually depressing because I tend to catastrophize.
- “They’ll hate my guts and stop talking to me.”
- “No one will like me.”
- “I’ll get fired.”
- “My friends and family will abandon me.”
But each of the times I’ve risked speaking up and sharing my thoughts and opinions, none of these things has happened. When I share my ideas respectfully and tactfully, life at least returns to normal, if it doesn’t improve.
If you’re worried that your fears will come true, they most likely won’t. So don’t waste time going down that rabbit trail. Instead, try to focus on what could “go right” when you speak up.
5. You’ll grow when you risk conflict.
Finally, if you’re like most INFJs, you’re a personal growth junkie who’s read his or her fair share of self-help and psychology books. You enjoy learning about ways to improve and make the most of your unique gifts and abilities, as well as shore up your weaknesses.
If you want to make an impact on the world, help others, and enjoy healthier relationships, sharing your thoughts more freely – especially when they conflict with others’ – is a great place to start.
Think of one person you interact with on a regular basis. What’s something you’d like to say but haven’t said before? What small step could you take toward voicing your thoughts?
Write it down, and share it with someone else who will hold you accountable. Then, go do it: risk conflict.
As for me, I better go now. It’s high time I talked to my colleague…