The 5 Styles of Conflict Management

We all have different ways of dealing with conflict, but most of us use one of five styles. By understanding these styles, you will be able to understand not only which one you use most, but also which style other people are using. With this knowledge you will be able to approach and resolve conflict with others more effectively when it occurs.

The five styles of conflict management are:

Style #1 Collaborating:

Collaborating is asserting your views while ensuring that everyone else’s point of view is also heard, and that their needs are being fairly addressed. Differences are welcomed, and various solutions are considered. Collaboration gives everyone a sense of mutual participation in the decisions that are being made while working toward an agreement. Collaboration is a team-oriented and cooperative way of dealing with conflict.

Style #2 Compromising:

Compromising can be a very positive, “give and take” approach to finding a fair solution. All parties usually agree to concede on some things in order to “split the difference” and reconcile the conflict. Compromising is useful when the relationship is more important than the goal. Compromising is also a good alternative when a quick solution is needed.

Style #3 Accommodating:

People who have the accommodating conflict style are willing to meet the other person’s needs at the expense of their own needs and sometimes to their own detriment. They give in to avoid disagreements, and may later wish they would’ve spoken up. Accommodating can be appropriate when the issue matters more to the other person, or when peace is more important than having your way. Just be sure to not always be the accommodator, as resentments will build as you keep making other people’s needs more important than your own.

Style #4 Forcing:

This is a competitive style of conflict management that people use when they are focused on resolving the conflict their way. They know what they want, will take a firm stand, and are usually not interested in the other person’s perspective. They want to control the outcome, and they discourage any sort of disagreement.

Style #5 Avoiding:

People who use the avoidance conflict style are sometimes just “choosing their battles.” Not every conflict is worth the time, energy or effort. However, avoiding can sometimes be non- productive when the person is detaching from the situation because they are afraid of losing, they don’t care, or they don’t want to deal with the situation. Understanding these 5 conflict styles, and noticing how the people deal with conflict, will help you approach and resolve conflict more effectively when it occurs.