Conquer Conflict At Work/Conflict Mis-Styles #6: Right Fighter

Friday, March 10, 2023

Conflict Mis-Styles #6: Right Fighter

When a right fighter is feeling threatened during conflict resolution attempts, reassurance that their contributions are valuable and needed will help to address the underlying fear.

Conflict Resolution Mis-Style: Right Fighter

When my need to appear right is greater than my desire to display God's love, I will inevitably treat people with judgement
~ Bill Johnson

We all know that disagreements and arguments happen in relationships. When we find ourselves in difficult conversations with someone who insists on being right, even in the face of opposing and sometimes overwhelming facts contradicting their position, tempers can flare.

When asserting there is a right and a wrong way to look at things, it implies your way is the only correct version and, by default, their way of thinking is flawed and limited. You can imagine this position does nothing to build trust in a relationship.

Right-fighters is the sixth in a seventh part series of conflict misstyles that are commonly used in conflict and are believed to help resolve issues through forcing a solution.

Confession time.

I relied on the right fighter methods to prove myself in my marriage. I had a deep worry that he would leave me if I shared my disappointment in his thoughts or actions so instead of being honest, I tried to force him to see things my way. I insisted he was wrong and I was right. He sometimes would fight back and other times he would withdrawn. There was no way for him to win. And, in hindsight, I was not winning either.
Things changed for me when I started teaching communication skills and over the five years I was teaching, I learned about workplace bullying. I could see the errors in my ways and had tools to change things.

I am thankful for the courage to get our of my own way and try something new with my husband, not because I was fearful, but because I knew what I wanted, a healthy marriage.

You are never limited by your communication misstyles unless you choose to be

Now ... back to today's content

Why do People become Right Fighters?

Right-fighters are driven by pride and see their own value or worth in the outcomes of the argument; so much so that losing an argument means they are not loveable, worthy, or capable.

Driven to be right, their self-esteem and self-worth depend on you and your willingness to agree with them; creating cycles of learned oppression.

How to identify someone who is a Right Fighter?

  • ​They need to have the last word in an argument and will interject, interrupt and reply without listening
  • ​Refuse to back down and others may complain that things always have to be 'their way'
  • ​Arguments often escalate to shouting and yelling
  • ​Won't readily admit they are wrong, even when faced with evidence to the contrary
  • ​If you prove them wrong, they will still spin the situation to demonstrate they were right

Risks of being a Right Fighter

With a clear winner and a clear loser, the end result of this type of conflict resolution pattern is that someone is constantly feeling defeated and alienated and experiences decreased relationship satisfaction. This may result in increased yelling and fighting or shutting down and withdrawing. Neither builds connection.

Your Better Leader Moment

It can be easy to feel like the words of a right fighter are personal attacks. Resist the urge to make this about you because as you have learned, this is about them protecting their pride and value.

They need to be heard and feel validated (which is not the same as agreeing with).

Knowing that a right fighter is feeling threatened, reassurance that their contributions are valuable and needed will help to address the underlying fear.

Don't demand that they see things your way, instead set the boundaries for ongoing respectful conversations. Listen and stay neutral, respect and acknowledge they have a unique point of view and experience.

You can agree to disagree without giving a right-fighter power to dismiss or invalidate your beliefs. Instead, look for the common ground you can agree on (i.e. principles, values, outcomes). Here are some sample scripts to use

  • ​You have given me something new to consider (and then really explore the new perspective - what can you learn?)
  • ​"I can see how you feel that way (and stop there, do not add a BUT and share your view)
  • ​​I have never thought about it that way, tell me more

Do you resonate with Misstyle of Right Fighter?

Are you wanting to be a Better Leader and improve your communication skills?

☞☞ Book a free Complimentary Coaching Session so we can talk about your goals and how coaching / mentoring can support you.

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