What is your conflict management style, and is it right for you?
Updated: Nov 4
Conflict resolution is a vital aspect of any workplace, and your approach to handling conflicts can significantly impact the outcome. Recognising and understanding different conflict styles is key to effectively navigating the complexities of workplace disputes. At Adelaide Workplace Mediation, we specialise in conflict management and aim to empower individuals and organisations with the knowledge and skills needed to address conflicts constructively.
Avoiding or Withdrawing:
Some individuals have a tendency to avoid or withdraw from conflicts. They prefer to ignore issues in the hope that they will resolve themselves, driven by the fear and anxiety associated with direct confrontation. However, this avoidance strategy can lead to a build-up of unresolved tension and anxiety, eventually resulting in explosive and destructive conflicts. It's akin to neglecting a health issue that only worsens over time.
While there are instances where avoiding conflict may be appropriate, such as when the matter is genuinely trivial, or emotions are running too high, it's crucial to recognise that avoiding conflict is not a sustainable long-term solution.
Accommodating involves yielding to another person's viewpoint or demands without asserting one's own needs and desires. While this approach can lead to quick resolutions, it often results in long-term resentment and suppressed anger. The intention behind accommodating is to preserve relationships, but paradoxically, it can harm relationships in the long run.
Although accommodating can be suitable in certain situations, such as buying time for a more effective response or acknowledging one's mistakes, it is not a viable long-term strategy for fulfilling one's own needs.
Competing, sometimes referred to as asserting your position or standing your ground, involves prioritising your needs over others. While this approach may yield short-term victories, it often leads to resentment and hostility in the long run. Individuals who employ this method may come across as aggressive, primarily focused on control, and determined to achieve their desired outcome.
The consequences of a competing style can include employee disengagement, increased resentment, and higher turnover. While there may be rare instances where competing is appropriate, it should be viewed as a last resort and is generally ineffective in the long term.
Compromising necessitates a willingness to consider the needs of others and involves give-and-take to reach an agreement that satisfies all parties involved. While compromising can lead to agreements, it may not fully address underlying issues, potentially leaving trust issues unresolved.
Compromising is suitable for low to moderately important goals, temporary or quick agreements, or complex issues that do not readily lend themselves to collaboration or a more forceful approach.
Collaboration represents the most challenging yet effective conflict management style. In a collaborative approach, both parties genuinely consider each other's viewpoints, striving for a win-win solution. Effective communication, mutual understanding, and a shared commitment to common goals are crucial for successful collaboration.
Collaboration promotes consensus, commitment, and innovative problem-solving. It builds mutual trust, respect, and shared responsibility for the outcome, making it a highly effective and sustainable conflict management style.
At Adelaide Workplace Mediation, we offer conflict management training and coaching to help individuals and organisations navigate these conflict styles effectively. If conflict resolution is an area of interest for you or your organisation, please don't hesitate to contact us at email@example.com.
We are dedicated to assisting you in enhancing conflict management skills and fostering a harmonious workplace.
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