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Conflict is a natural part of life. No one can go through life without experiencing conflict at some point. The key to successfully handling conflict is using the right conflict management style.
There are five main styles that we use in conflict management: Accommodating, Avoiding, Compromising, Competing, and Collaboration. Each style has its strengths and weaknesses.
In this blog post, we will explore each of these styles in-depth and teach you how to use them to your advantage.
What is meant by Conflict Management?
When two or more parties disagree, conflict management is the system used to handle the dispute. This process aims to reduce negative aspects influencing the disagreement and get all sides to come to an understanding. Positive conflict management produces a solution from which each party agrees and benefits.
Many different techniques can be used to manage conflict, and it’s often best to tailor the approach to meet the specific needs of each situation. However, some common methods include mediation, arbitration, and negotiation.
In order to be effective, conflict management must be conducted fairly and impartially. All parties involved must feel as though they have been heard and their concerns have been considered. Only then can a resolution be reached that is acceptable to everyone.
Related: Conflict Management Skill
5 conflict management styles
There are five main conflict management styles: Accommodating, Avoiding, Compromising, Competing, and Collaboration. Let’s take a closer look at each one.
1. Accommodating Style
It is crucial to consider the potential conflict it can create when accommodating. This style often makes people feel out of control and like they are at the mercy of others.
Additionally, accommodating conflict management style can be pretty challenging to implement as assertiveness may not always be seen as a positive trait. If an accommodation fails, mediation or arbitration might present an option.
While both these processes have pros and cons, the ultimate goal should always remain to find a resolution that everyone is happy with.
- Good at finding common ground
- Builds relationships
- Can be taken advantage of
- May not get what you want
- Not assertive
How to use it: Use the accommodating style when the other person is more important than the conflict itself. For example, if you’re trying to resolve a conflict with a friend, you might use the accommodating style. But if you’re trying to negotiate a raise at work, you’ll probably want to use a different style.
When it’s not effective: The accommodating style is ineffective when you need to be assertive or when the conflict is more important than the relationship. For example, if you’re in a conflict with a co-worker and you need to stand up for yourself, the accommodating style won’t work.
2. Avoiding Style
Avoiding conflict is the easiest solution, but it seldom works out that way. The dispute often arises from disagreements or misunderstandings and can be unpleasant to deal with. anger is a common emotion associated with conflict. Still, there are other emotions too – hurt, frustration, etcetera.
Some people are naturally prone to conflict and need to learn how to manage it effectively. Understanding your personality style before trying to manage conflict with others will go a long way in avoiding problems down the line.
- Keeps the peace
- Prevents escalation
- It gives you time to cool off
- Conflict is not resolved
- It may make the situation worse
- It can seem like you’re indifferent
How to use it: Use the avoiding style when the conflict is not important, when you need time to cool off, or when escalation would be harmful. For example, if you and your friend are arguing about something minor, you might use the avoiding style. But if you conflict with your boss, you’ll probably want to use a different style.
When it’s not effective: The avoiding style is ineffective when the conflict is important or when avoidance worsens the situation. For example, if you’re in a conflict with your co-worker and you need to stand up for yourself, the avoiding style won’t work.
3. Compromising Style
When it comes to conflict management, the most successful style is compromising. Of course, in any conflict, there are always two sides fighting for what they believe in. However, sometimes the best solution is not necessarily picking one side or the other but finding a compromise that can satisfy both parties. This is where the compromising style comes in. Rather than being concerned with who is right or wrong, this style attempts to find a solution that will at least partially please everyone involved.
This can be an effective way to reach a quick resolution, especially when a deadline is looming or an impasse has been reached. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that not everyone will be happy with the outcome of a compromise, and it may only be a temporary solution.
- Conflict is resolved
- Both parties get something
- Maintain relationships
- It may not be fair
- You may not get what you want
- It can take a long time
How to use it: Use the compromising style when resolving the conflict quickly, when both parties are equally important, or when both parties need to give up something. For example, if you’re in a conflict with your co-worker and need to resolve it quickly, you might use the compromising style. But if you’re in a conflict with your boss and you need to stand up for yourself, you’ll probably want to use a different style.
When it’s not effective: The compromising style is ineffective when one party is more important than the other, when someone is unwilling to give up anything, or when a quick resolution is unnecessary. For example, if you’re in a conflict with your co-worker and you need to stand up for yourself, the compromising style won’t work.
4. Competing Style
The compromising conflict management style focuses on getting what you want without considering the wants of others. This style can be effective in certain situations, such as when you need to make a quick decision or stand up for your beliefs. However, it is also important to be aware of the potential downsides of this approach.
For example, if you constantly compete with others, they may begin to see you as anxious or pushy, which could damage your relationships. In addition, if you only focus on winning arguments, you may miss out on important points of view that could help you find a more creative solution. Therefore, it is essential to use the competing style sparingly and only in situations where it is likely to be successful.
- Conflict is resolved
- Get what you want
- Quick resolution
- It may make the conflict worse
- Relationships may suffer
- Another person may not be happy with the resolution
How to use it: Use the competing style when you’re in a conflict and need to get your way, when time is of the essence, or when the conflict is not important. For example, if you’re in a conflict with your co-worker and need to resolve it quickly, you might use the competing style. But if you conflict with your boss, you’ll probably want to use a different style.
When it’s not effective: The competing style is ineffective when the conflict is important, both parties need to give up something, or when a quick resolution is unnecessary. For example, if you’re in a conflict with your boss and you need to stand up for yourself, the competing style won’t work.
5. Collaborating Style
The collaborative conflict management style aims to find a solution that will meet the needs of all parties. So, you would aim for a solution that meets everyone’s needs rather than finding a middle-ground solution.
This is usually done by first getting everyone involved in the decision-making process and having them brainstorm ideas until they’ve come up with something that everyone can agree on. From there, it’s often best to get experts to help improve or further develop the idea. This way, everyone gets what they need without feeling like losing out on anything.
Another benefit of collaborating is that it allows people to share their strengths and weaknesses, leading to better outcomes. Working together allows everyone to learn from their mistakes and emerge as better individuals.
- Conflict is resolved
- Relationships may improve
- Parties may learn from each other
- Creative solutions are possible
- It can take a long time
- Maybe difficult to find a solution that meets everyone’s needs
- Experts may be needed
How to use it: Use the collaborating style when the conflict is important, when both parties need to give up something, or when a quick resolution is not needed. For example, this style might work well if you’re in a conflict with your boss and you need to stand up for yourself.
When it’s not effective: The collaborating style is ineffective when one party is more important than the other, when someone is not willing to give up anything, or when a quick resolution is needed. For example, if you’re in a conflict with your co-worker and need to resolve it quickly, this style won’t work.
The 5 Conflict Resolution Examples
Here are the five examples of conflict management:
1. Conflict With a Parent
Your parents will always have high expectations for you, whether in your personal life or professional career. While this can be a good thing, it can also lead to conflict if you feel you’re not meeting their standards. For example, imagine your father is a successful doctor who wants you to follow in his footsteps. You, however, have different aspirations and would rather be an artist.
In a situation like this, it’s essential to discuss with your parent your goals and explain why you feel differently than they do. This will help them understand where you’re coming from and hopefully lead to a compromise. In this instance, you may agree to study art part-time while completing a pre-med program. This way, you’re still working towards your father’s wishes while pursuing your passions.
2. Collaborating With a Loved One
Couples often find themselves in conflict because they have different approaches to solving problems. For example, one partner may want to talk things out while the other prefers to take action. In these cases, it’s important to remember that both partners come from a place of love and respect.
A collaborative approach is the best way to handle conflict in a relationship because it allows both partners to have a say in the decision-making process. This style also considers both parties’ needs and results in a fair solution for everyone.
It’s important to remember that being collaborative doesn’t mean giving up your own needs; it just means finding a compromise that works for both of you.
3. Conflict With a Friend
Friends often have disagreements because they value different things. For example, one friend may prioritize quality while the other couldn’t care less about being on time. These differences can lead to conflict if one friend feels like they are always waiting for the other or if they feel like their time is being disrespected.
The best way to handle conflict with a friend is through communication. It’s important, to be honest about how you’re feeling and to give your friend a chance to explain their side of the story. Once you’ve both had a chance to speak, it will be easier to find a compromise that works for both of you.
Remember that friends are supposed to make you happy, so if the conflict is causing more stress than happiness, it may be time to let go.
4. Dealing With a Difficult Coworker
Working with someone difficult can be a challenge, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Many people have dealt with a coworker who is always negative or constantly trying to undermine their work.
Establishing limits is the most effective approach to dealing with an unpleasant coworker. It’s important to be clear about what you will and will not tolerate from this person. Once you’ve established your boundaries, it will be easier to stick to them.
It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to be friends with this person, but you do need to be professional. This means keeping your interactions brief and to the point. If you can’t avoid this person, try to limit your interactions to only what is necessary.
5. Accommodating an Angry Customer
As a business owner, you’ll inevitably come across an unhappy customer at some point. It could be because they’re unsatisfied with your product or service, or maybe they had a bad experience with one of your employees. Whatever the case, it’s important to stay calm and try to accommodate their needs.
In this circumstance, the best conflict management style to use is accommodation. This means you’re willing to sacrifice your needs to make the customer happy. For example, you may offer them a refund or give them a discount on their next purchase. By doing this, you’re diffusing the anger and hopefully preventing them from taking their business elsewhere.
Accommodating an angry customer can be difficult, but it’s important to remember that they are paying your salary. Without them, your business wouldn’t be successful. So, it’s in your best interest to do whatever you can to make them happy.
We hope that by now, you have a good understanding of the different conflict management styles and how to use them to your advantage. Conflict is inevitable, but you can successfully resolve any dispute with the right conflict management style. Just remember to be assertive, stand up for yourself, and always work towards a resolution.
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Related: Best Leadership Styles in Management
What is the best conflict management style?
There is no single answer to this question, as different people may have other preferences for handling conflict. However, some commonly cited conflict management styles include competing, collaborating, compromising, and avoiding. Each style has its strengths and weaknesses, so it may be worth trying different approaches to see what works best in a given situation.
What are the 5 C’s of conflict management?
The 5 C’s of conflict management are communication, cooperation, compromise, coordination, and collaboration. By effectively utilizing these five strategies, parties involved in a conflict can work together to resolve their differences and come to a mutually agreeable solution.
What is an example of competing conflict style?
A competing conflict style is when parties involved in a conflict seek to win at all costs, even if it means sacrificing the other party’s needs. This can often lead to escalation of the conflict and further entrenchment of positions, making it more challenging to reach a resolution.
How do you practice competing conflict?
Competing conflict can be practiced by understanding the other party’s position and interests and then looking for ways to advance one’s own interests while still considering the other party’s needs. It is also essential to be willing to negotiate and compromise when necessary.
What are the strengths of competing conflict style?
The main strength of the competing conflict style is that it can effectively achieve one’s goals. This approach can also help parties to clarify their positions and interests and to explore all possible options for resolving the conflict.
What are the 4 skills for managing conflict management?
The four skills for managing conflict are communication, negotiation, problem-solving, and mediation. By effectively utilizing these skills, parties involved in a conflict can work together to resolve their differences and come to a mutually agreeable solution.