Considering the fact that we as individuals have different points of view, there will always be instances when misunderstandings will occur among us. With the arising of these intractable conflicts comes the need for conflict management. Even in seemingly ordinary situations, conflict may be rooted by other non-apparent reasons. Understanding the other sides of the issue would allow those involved to come up with an ideal resolution to the problem. In dealing with conflict, there are conflict management styles to be followed. The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, which is an assessment used globally in conflict handling, specifies five strategies used to address conflict. They are as follows:
Accommodation involves having to deal with the problem with an element of self-sacrifice; an individual sets aside his own concerns to maintain peace in the situation. Thus, the person yields to what the other wants, displaying a form of selflessness. It might come as an immediate solution to the issue; however it also brings about a false manner of dealing with the problem. This can be disruptive if there is a need to come up with a more sound and creative way out of the problem. This behavior will be most efficient if the individual is in the wrong as it can come as a form of conciliation.
In this approach, there is withdrawal from the conflict. The problem is being dealt with through a passive attitude. Avoiding is mostly used when the perceived negative end outweighs the positive outcome. In employing this, individuals end up ignoring the problem, thinking that the conflict will resolve itself. It might be applicable in certain situations but not in all. Avoidance would mean that you neglect the responsibility that comes with it. The other individuals involved might think that you are neglecting the problem. Thus, it is better to confront the problem before it gets worse.
Collaborating aims to find a solution to the conflict through cooperating with other parties involved. Hence, communication is an important part of this strategy. In this mechanism, effort is exerted in digging into the issue to identify the needs of the individuals concerned without removing their respective interests from the picture. Collaborating individuals aim to come up with a successful resolution creatively, without compromising their own satisfactions.
Competition involves authoritative and assertive behaviors. In this style, the aggressive individual aims to instil pressure on the other parties to achieve a goal. It includes the use of whatever means to attain what the individual thinks is right. It may be appropriate in some situations but it shouldn’t come to a point wherein the aggressor becomes too unreasonable. Dealing with the conflict with an open mind is vital for a resolution to be met.
Compromising is about coming up with a resolution that would be acceptable to the parties involved. Thus, one party is willing to sacrifice their own sets of goals as long as the others will do the same. Hence, it can be viewed as a mutual give-and-take scenario where the parties submit the same amount of investment for the problem to be solved. A disadvantage of this strategy is the fact that since these parties find an easy way around the problem, the possibility of coming up with more creative ways for a solution would be neglected.
Given the different conflict management styles, you might be thinking of the one style that would suit you the most. It is important to note that the strategy involved in coming up with a resolution is relative to the kind of the problem.