There are five key styles for dealing with or managing conflict.
Competing – The competing style is the style in which one’s own needs are promoted over the needs of others. This style uses an aggressive approach to communication, has a low regard for future relationships, and exercises a coercive sense of power. Those using a competitive style tend to seek control over a discussion, in both substance and ground rules. They fear that loss of such control will result in solutions that fail to meet their needs.
- Pros: Goal oriented & quick.
- Cons: Likely breeds hostility.
Accommodating –The accommodating style is the opposite of competing. Persons using this style allow the other party to satisfy their concerns while neglecting their own, all for the sake of being diplomatic.
- Pros: Preserved relationships.
- Cons: Personal needs not addressed.
reads until it kills the relationship. Because needs and concerns go unexpressed, people are often confused, wondering what went wrong in a relationship.
- Pros: Does not escalate conflict & postpones difficulty.
- Cons: Unaddressed & unresolved problems.
Compromising – The compromising style is an approach to conflict in which people give and take in a series of tradeoffs. While satisfactory, this middle ground approach is generally not satisfying. We each remain shaped by our individual perceptions of our needs and don’t necessarily understand the other side very well. We often retain a lack of trust and avoid risk-taking involved in more collaborative behaviors.
- Pros: Useful for complex issues without simple solutions. All parties have equal power.
- Cons: No one is ever really satisfied. Less than optimal solutions get implemented.
Collaborating – The collaborating style is the pooling of individual needs and goals toward a common goal. It involves cooperating with the other party to understand their concerns and expressing your own concerns in an effort to find a mutually and completely satisfactory solution. Collaboration offers the chance for consensus, and the integration of needs. It brings new time, energy, and ideas to resolve the dispute meaningfully.
- Pros: Creates mutual trust and maintains positive relationships. Also builds commitment.
- Cons: Time and energy-consuming approach.
We each have our own way of dealing with conflict. The techniques we use are based on many conditions such as our temperament, our personality, our environment, and where we currently are in our personal lives. None of these styles is necessarily better than the others. How effective they are depends on the context in which they are ultimately used.