What’s Your Conflict Management Style?
Conflict emerges when one or more values, perspectives and opinions are contradictory in nature. It is a lot like water- it spills over, flows downhill and if left unchecked, it erodes whatever it touches. It can be a downer, but managed properly, conflict is a fertile ground for a great exchange of ideas.
People have different styles in how they respond to conflict depending on the degree of their concern of self and concern of others. To find out which your dominant conflict style is, give a numerical value to the listed 15 statements below. (i.e., 1=Always, 2=Very often, 3=Sometimes, 4=Not very often, 5= Rarely, if ever.)
a. I argue my case with peers, colleagues and coworkers to demonstrate the merits of the position I take.
b. I try to reach compromises through negotiation.
c. I attempt to meet the expectation of others.
d. I seek to investigate issues with others in order to find solutions that are mutually acceptable.
e. I am firm in resolve when it comes to defending my side of the issue.
f. I try to avoid being singled out, keeping conflict with others to myself.
g. I uphold my situation to problems.
h. I trade important information with others so that problems can be solved together.
j. I avoid discussing my differences with others.
k. I try to accommodate the wishes of my peers and colleagues.
l. I seek to bring everyone’s concerns out into the open in order to resolve disputes in the best possible way.
m. I put forward middles positions in efforts to break deadlocks.
n. I accept the recommendations of colleagues, peers, and coworkers.
o. I avoid hard feelings by keeping my disagreements with others to myself.
Scoring: All 15 statements are listed in five categories. Each contains the letters of three statements. Calculate the total.
|1. Avoid it||a.||e.||g.|
|2. Accommodate it||d.||i.||l.|
Note: Your dominant style is the one with your LOWEST score and your back-up style is the one with second lowest score.
1. Avoiding - You avoid the issue neither helping the others reach their goals nor yourself pursuing yours. It can be used for trivial issues and when you can’t win. However, avoiding is not a good long term strategy.
2. Accommodating - You cooperate to a high-degree, usually at your own expense, against your objectives. This approach is effective when the other party is the expert or has a better solution.
3. Competing - The “win-lose” approach. You act without seeking to cooperate with the other party. This approach may be appropriate when you need quick, decisive action, and people are aware of and support the approach.
4. Compromising - The “lose-lose” scenario where neither party achieves their desired outcome. Compromise can be achieved when both parties involved agree to a common solution as a way of moving forward. It is appropriate as a temporary solution, or if both sides have equally important goals.
5. Collaborating - You break free of the “win-lose” paradigm and seek the “win-win.”
This style has the higher likelihood of producing outcomes for the benefit of all involved. People using this style assume a problem-solving approach, and actively aim to find a mutually satisfying or novel solution to problems.
By knowing your approach to conflicts you improve your self-awareness and recognize the impact of the different styles on others. With practice and motivation, through coaching and training, you can also teach other people to adopt new conflict styles according to the needs of the situation.