Dealing with conflict management
In addition to the style descriptions, this booklet includes tips and techniques to help you implement each style more effectively. These are designed to increase your level of comfort in using each style and give you greater control over conflict processes and outcomes. A Special Word About Collaboration Although the collaborative approach is not appropriate for all conflict situations, its “win/win” outcome is the most satisfying for everyone involved. It is, however, the most difficult of all styles to achieve, because it requires the participation and cooperation of both parties.
It also is the most time consuming. It should, therefore, be reserved for matters where the outcomes are of high importance to both parties, ND the satisfactory resolution is worthy of the investment of the time and energy invested. We have included a special section, Creating Collaboration, starting on page 9, to give you more in-depth information on the collaborative process. Studies have shown that effective collaboration is an essential ingredient in higher levels of employee motivation, Job satisfaction, creativity, and productivity.
Collaborative approaches to conflict are not used in many cases in which they would have been beneficial, so make sure you study the information about when and how to use
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DC statement for that mode. Your percentile scores show how your raw scores compare to all those who have taken the DC online assessment to date, which is updated after each and every DC test taker. Your percentile scores show the percentage of people who have taken the DC online assessment to date who scored the same as or lower than you on each conflict-handling style. Sample Report – Confidential and Private – Page 5 of 23 The following is a description of each of the five conflict-handling styles, including some helpful tips for using each style effectively.
You may want to review each of the styles in order of your relative use (from your primary style to your least used style). This may help you better understand your particular conflict-handling profile. The rid below helps to visualize the range of conflict-handling styles, and the characteristics of each. We have included a special tool on page 11, the Conflict Style Selector, to help you analyze a specific conflict situation to determine the most appropriate style. This will help you increase your ability to recognize, understand, and better resolve conflicts.
Sample Report – Confidential and Private – Page 6 of 23 A Guide to Conflict-Handling Styles (continued) Accommodate (l Lose, You Win) Your score of 4 means that you regularly consider making use of this style. When you accommodate, you put aside your needs and desires and acquiesce to the other person’s requests or demands. This style is appropriate when you place a high value on your relationship with the other party. It is also appropriate when the outcome of the conflict is of low importance to you, but of high importance to the other party.
Tips: Don’t be too quick to use the accommodating style. Refrain from using statements such as “It doesn’t matter to me” or “Whatever you say. ” In order for both parties to feel good about the outcome, you should feel that you made a proactive decision to allow the other person’s needs to be met. The other party should recognize that you have given up something of value in order to resolve the conflict. This will allow you to be viewed as cooperative, rather than weak. You will also have paved the way for requesting that the other party be as responsive to your needs in a future situation.
Avoid (l Lose, You Lose) Your score of O means that you almost never consider making use of this style. When you avoid conflict, you side-step or withdraw from the conflict situation. When you prevent or postpone the conflict, the conflict remains unresolved and neither party wins. By ignoring or postponing the conflict, you prevent either yourself or the other party from resolving the conflict. Sometimes conflicts resolve themselves when left alone. For instance, people who are angry may try to initiate arguments with you their tempers.
It is also wise to avoid any conflicts in which you think the other party is dangerous, either because he or she may escalate to destructive conflict, or because he or she is simply too powerful for you to negotiate with on a level playing field. Tips: Avoidance is often the best initial response to conflicts when you are unprepared for them. Use it as a short-term strategy for buying time and figuring out how to handle the conflict. For example, ask to schedule a meeting to discuss the situation, and pick a time as far in the future as the other party will agree to.
You will then have additional time to consider your approach to resolving the situation or have an improved position by then. If the other person has a deadline, your avoidance puts you in a better position over time. He or she is more likely to be reasonable and willing to collaborate or compromise when the deadline is at hand. Compromise (We Both Win, We Both Lose) Your score of 3 means that you sometimes consider making use of this style. In the compromise style, you resolve the conflict quickly and efficiently by seeking a fair and equitable split between your positions.
When you compromise, each side concedes some of their issues in order to win others. The key to effective compromise is that both parties are flexible and willing to settle for a satisfactory resolution of their major issue. The compromise style is most appropriate when the outcome is of low to medium importance, and relationship is of high to medium importance. Compromise s most useful when you look to bring a conflict to quick closure. Tips: True compromising involves honesty and reasonableness.
Stating an exaggerated opening position, in order to retain as much “bargaining room” as possible, may be viewed as a challenge to the other party to do the same. This will cause both parties to distrust the real motivation of the other, and the resolution process will quickly change to a competing style. The compromise style works best when there is a degree of trust between both parties and/or the facts of the real needs of both parties are mutually understood. Sample Report – Confidential and Private – Page 7 of 23 (continued) Compete (l Win, You Lose) Your score of 2 means that you occasionally consider making use of this style.
When you compete, you seek to win your position at the expense of the other party losing theirs. Competing is the appropriate style when only one party can achieve their desired outcome. It is best used when the outcome is extremely important, and relationship is of relatively low importance. Many different situations require that the competing style be used in order to be resolved effectively. In situations where there an be only one “winner,” or when making a quick decision is crucial, are appropriate for the competing style.
For example, if two car salespeople were “competing” for your business, compromising would not be an acceptable resolution, purchasing half a car from each of them. Similarly, it would not be appropriate (or ethical) for our Emergency situations that require split second decision-making are often appropriate for a competing response. Tips: By definition, the competing style is not negative, and has many appropriate uses. It can, however, have a detrimental effect hen it is overused-adopting a “winning at all costs” strategy regardless of the appropriateness of the situation. The competing style takes time and energy.
It is, therefore, advisable that you “pick the right battles” and believe that the outcome justifies the investment of your time and energy. Collaborate (l Win, You Win) Your score of 6 means that you almost always consider making use of this style. When you collaborate, you cooperate with the other party to try to resolve a common problem to a mutually satisfying outcome. You Join with the other party to compete against the situation instead of each other. Each side must feel that the outcomes gained through collaboration are more favorable than the outcome they could achieve on their own.
Collaboration requires a trusting relationship with the other party; it requires a situation in which creative problem-solving will indeed benefit both parties, and it requires a high level of communication and problem-solving skills. Using the collaborative style requires the highest investment of time and energy of any of the conflict-handling styles. It should be used when both the outcome and the relationship are of high importance to both parties. It should not be used when a quick resolution is necessary, because the process of true collaboration usually takes time.
Pressure to come to a decision will cause frustration to both parties, and often force them to use a less appropriate style. Collaboration is the most satisfying style because each party feels that they have achieved their desired outcome, and the relationship is unaffected or improved. This style takes work, but it is worth the investment in creating long-term satisfaction and building successful relationships. Tips: In a genuine collaboration, each party starts by trading information instead of concessions. Each side must offer insight into their situation- what their concerns and constraints are.
The collaborative process requires keeping an open mind, temporarily setting aside our own priorities, and considering many different approaches. Although it is tempting to think that the positive outcomes of successful collaboration make it the best choice for all conflicts, there is a danger in the overuse of this style. Certain situations require expedient solutions: where to go for lunch, what brand of paper to use in the office copier, etc. People who seek to elaborate on all situations may be wasting time and avoiding taking responsibility for their actions.
Also, using the collaborative approach in all situations may create false expectations about people’s ability to have input on all decision making. Sample Report – Confidential and Private – Page 8 of 23 “It takes two to collaborate. ” On average, about 47% of people rate themselves as collaborators in conflict situations, and 25% to 33% of people are rated as collaborators by others. This means instinct. However, in most workplace and personal conflicts, collaboration is the most productive style. Therefore, you will often encounter conflicts in which collaboration is not the other party’s (or your) dominant style.
Your challenge is to shift the conflict from another style and make it collaborative. When the other person does not collaborate, your efforts to collaborate make you vulnerable. It truly takes two to collaborate, and many people complain that their efforts to turn conflicts into collaborations fail because of the other person’s use of another conflict-handling style. This problem is important, because in any situation where you care about both the outcome and the relationship, collaboration is the optimal style. Other styles will not produce as positive an outcome.
Since the odds are that neither party has collaboration as a dominant style, you will need to recognize this and consciously work toward a collaborative approach. It will take energy, cooperation, and time, but the results will lead to greater satisfaction and success. The following is a list of collaboration-building techniques to help you create a framework for successful collaboration: 1 . Make sure the other person shares his or her needs and objectives. Understanding each other’s needs and objectives is essential to successful collaboration.
Keep asking the other person what he or she needs and wants. Keep explaining what you need and want out of the conflict, too. Restate your desire to make sure everyone’s needs and wants are met. 2. Stimulate information sharing. In most conflicts, people react defensively and do not share information fully. To collaborate, you must share information freely. Signal your intent to collaborate by being open and honest with the other person. Explain that you want him or her to understand your position fully, and ask the other person to share information about his or her situation with you.
Remind the other person that you are more likely to be able to help him or her if you understand the situation more clearly. Always ask for information in the context of helping each other. 3. Offer many alternatives. Collaborations only work when you explore creative options. Signal your intent to find new and better ways to resolve the conflict by voicing many options and making it clear that you are not attached to any one option, but simply want to find a solution that works for all. Your behavior will encourage the other person to consider novel approaches to the conflict, too. 4.
Insist on a elaborative process before discussing solutions. If the other person presses you for a commitment before engaging in open information sharing and Joint problem- solving efforts, refocus the process. Explain that you are not ready to consider offers or close a negotiation until you’ve had a chance to cooperate with him or her in exploring the problem more carefully. Make it clear that you have faith in collaborative conflict resolution, and believe that a collaborative approach will benefit both parties. 5. Refuse to interact when emotions are high. Collaborations require an open, cooperative, friendly environment.
Anger, frustration, suspicion, and other strong emotions disrupt or prevent collaboration. Recognize that heated approaches to conflict lead to hasty solutions or escalations, not cooperative problem solving. When things get too hot, simply say you don’t want to work on the conflict because desire to sit down on the same side of the table and try to work cooperatively on the problem. Wait for the other person’s emotions to settle. In most cases, your emotional leadership will bring the other person around and collaboration will become possible. Remember, it takes patience to manage emotions! 6. Take a creative problem-solving approach.
When you do get the other person to agree to collaborate, remember that you need to work together to understand the problem better, and then to generate creative alternatives. Only when you have some real insights into the problem and some better alternatives should Sample Report – Confidential and Private – Page 9 of 23 you switch gears and worry about exactly which solution to adopt. Start the collaborative process by exploring the problem together. Here is a suggested format for creating a collaborative environment: Step 1 . Explore the problem. Exactly what is he problem from each of your perspectives?
Have either of you overlooked aspects of the problem, exaggerated the problem, or confused one problem for another? When you both commit to discussing and thinking about the problem itself, you often find new and better ways to look at it. Step 2. Create lots of options. After exploring the problem itself, you must now explore possible resolutions of the problem. Since you are in conflict, you must have competing views of how to resolve the problem. Disagreement tends to cement these views, blinding you to alternatives. But are there other ways of thinking about the robber or the solution that might lead to noncompetitive ways to solve it?