Now that we’re digging into managing conflict – do you know your conflict management style?
“When we think of conflict, often we assume that there is only one way to handle it. Kenneth W. Thomas (2002) and Ralph Kilmann have actually identified five strategies to deal with conflict – each having strengths and weaknesses. Managing conflict is a critical management skill that involves partnering with others, building relationships, effectively listening, and negotiation.
Conflict arises when our desires or concerns are at odds with someone else’s desires or concerns. The five conflict styles are a function of two variables: (a) how much you try to satisfy your own concerns, known as assertiveness, and (b) how much you try to satisfy others’ concerns, known as cooperativeness. Here is a brief overview of each style.
Competing: This is perhaps what most of us consider when we think of conflict. We try to win or get what we want, and the other party loses. Competing is high assertiveness and low cooperativeness.
Accommodating: When we accommodate, we give the other person what they want but forgo our own needs or desires. We are unassertive and cooperative.
Avoiding: Many people prefer to avoid conflict altogether. In this case, we are unassertive and uncooperative.
Compromising: When we comprise, we get some of what we want and the other party also gets something, but neither party gets all of their concerns met. We take an intermediate position on both assertiveness and cooperativeness
Collaborating: Much has been written the last decade on the value of collaboration or creating “win-win” solutions. Here we are both assertive and cooperative. Not only do we ensure that our own concerns are addressed, we also take on the concerns of the other party and work together to meet their needs as well.”
Terry has gone into some more depth on these conflict styles on his blog.
So, this week, think about which category of conflict management you usually work in.
Then, think about a current or past conflict and determine which type of management style would be best in creating a resolution!