What's your conflict management style?

What’s your conflict management style?


Our conflict management styles define who we are as leaders and as people. However, they also shape our teams — who works for us, how they operate and whether they’re able to reach their full potential.

Understanding your conflict management style is the first step in becoming a stronger, more capable leader. The next step is to learn your style’s strengths and weaknesses so you can address them appropriately. Finally, you can review the styles of other leaders — and, perhaps most importantly, learn when and how to utilise them, as different approaches are suited to different situations.

Five conflict management styles

Here are the five conflict management styles. Which one comes most naturally to you?

Different conflict management styles have different benefits.Different conflict management styles have different benefits.
  • Accommodating

The accommodating style manages conflict by giving in — usually because you value peace more highly than your preferred outcome. Accommodations can be made in many situations, but sometimes this style encourages less forceful or confident parties to concede a point that actually matters to them.

  • Avoiding

According to Walden University, you utilise the avoiding conflict management style when “diplomatically sidestepping an issue.” Using this style too frequently can cause problems to build up — but it may be a good call when there are larger issues in play or the conflict is small-scale. Therefore, when using the avoiding style, it’s important to consider an issue’s immediate ramifications as well as its potential future consequences.

  • Compromising

The University of Notre Dame calls compromise “a big step toward conflict resolution.” If you approach issues holistically and look for solutions that suit everyone, you use the compromising style. Keep in mind that compromise often means giving ground on certain issues, and can therefore be difficult to negotiate.

  • Competing

The competing conflict management style is best for external issues and often doesn’t work well internally. The opposite of accommodating, this style pushes back against the competition until the stronger party gets what they want. In certain situations, competing is frequently necessary — but if used too often, this style can begin to wear on everyone involved.

  • Collaboration

If you use the collaboration conflict management style, you take charge to make sure everyone gets a satisfying solution. Naturally, this style shares elements with the others — especially compromising — but differs in its need to have conflict managed by one assertive party.

Which style is best?

No matter which conflict management style you use, it’s important to remember that there is no right or wrong approach. Your style may be entirely different from mine, but as long as our people are efficient, comfortable and reaching their full potential, we’re getting the job done.

If you’re looking for ways to become a better, more confident leader, there’s no better solution than to address your conflict management style. Our conflict management training gives you the tools to make peace a priority between your teams — no matter what your current style may be.

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