Conflict Handling Styles

1342 words 6 pages
Understanding Conflict Handling Styles In a dispute, it's often easier to describe how others respond then to how we respond. Each of us has a predominant conflict style that we use to meet our own needs. By examining conflict styles and the consequences of those behaviors, we can gain a better understanding of the impact that our personal conflict style has on other people. With a better understanding, you then can make a conscious choice on how to respond to others in a conflict situation to help reduce work conflict and stress.
Behavioral scientists Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann, who developed the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, have identified five styles to responding to conflict—competition, collaboration, compromise,
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For example: "I want the report." • Interests define the problem and may be intangible, unexpressed, or not consistent. They are the main reasons why you say what you want – the motivation behind the position. The conflict is usually between each person's needs, desire, concern, or fear.
For example: "I need to receive the report by Friday, so I can have time to review and edit before the due date next Wednesday."
Remember that figuring out your interests is just as important as figuring out their interests.
How to Identify Interests
To identify interests of the other person, you need to ask questions to determine what the person believes he or she truly needs. When you ask, be sure to clarify that you are not asking questions for justification of their position, but for a better understanding of their needs, fears, hopes, and desires.
Using open-ended questions that encourage a person to "tell their story" helps you begin to understand their interest. Open ended questions are opposite of closed-ended questions, which require a response of "yes" or "no." To illustrate the difference, consider the following example: • Did you have a good relationship with your supervisor? (closed-ended) • Tell me about your relationship with your supervisor. (open-ended)
Examples of open-ended questions: • What’s your basic concern about …? • Tell me about …

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