Not everyone has the same approach to their work or to their relationships in the workplace – and that’s on a typically good day. When you throw in a little word called conflict into the mix, things can get a bit more challenging. The source of conflict can be a simple disagreement with a colleague’s idea on a particular project, or be as complicated as a palpable clash with another colleague’s personality.
To top it all off, everyone has an instinctive method for dealing with conflict. While some people may be overly aggressive in their approach, others may simply be overly passive. And then there are others of us that fall somewhere in between. Whether or not our intrinsic methods for dealing with conflict actually work is altogether another matter, but they can definitely mean the difference between achieving what you need to succeed in the workplace rather than letting it pass you by the wayside. In addition, antagonistic conflict styles can be rather destructive in a team environment. That is why it is important to learn how to identify your own style as well as those with whom you work.
1) Avoiding: Evading conflict entirely for a variety of reasons – do not want to take responsibility for decisions or hurt other’s feelings.
Outcome: Least effective approach to take.
2) Accommodating: Willing to meet other’s needs, but at own expense.
Outcome: The level of accommodation is generally not reciprocated in the long run.
3) Compromising: Attempting to reach a solution that will satisfy all involved to some degree.
Outcome: Lose-Lose situation in which all parties give up something to reach an agreement.
4) Competing: Knowing what you want and taking a staunch, perhaps unpopular position particularly in an urgent situation.
Outcome: Win-Lose situation which leaves some feeling unsatisfied with the solution.
5) Collaborating: Trying to find a solution that meets the needs of all involved.
Outcome: Win-Win situation where all are satisfied with the solution.
Once you have identified which conflict style you tend to follow, you can begin adapting your conflict resolution style (or mix) to help you achieve the best results at work.