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Dealing with conflict

The final conflict management style, collaboration, is an integrative approach that reflects a desire to meet the interests of everyone involved in the situation.  The premise is that all needs are important and should be acknowledged, and when people work together, they generate solutions that address each person’s concerns.  

Most of us have been taught that life is about compromise.  People who predominately use this style expect to give up something to reach mutually acceptable agreements.  Compromising is an appropriate strategy when time or resources are limited or when any answer is better than a stalemate.   While this “Band-Aid” approach provides an outcome, it often does not generate optimal solutions.  

Do you try to maintain harmony in your relationships, but often feel as though your own needs are not met?  Are you giving up your needs to please someone else?

A colleague once told me that a co-worker had a “my way or the highway” attitude.  It was causing friction in the department. It sounded as though the co-worker used a competing conflict strategy to resolve problems. 

People who avoid conflicts believe that conflict is negative, so they steer clear of it.  An avoider is akin to a turtle that pulls his head into his shell and denies that the conflict exists.  Avoiders also change the topic when someone attempts to engage them in the resolution process, or they ask noncommittal questions, such as “What do you think?”