Conflict Styles vs Conflict Skills
People have different ways of dealing with conflict. The five conflict styles identified by the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument are: collaborating, competing, avoiding, accommodating, and compromising. According to this model, each style has pros and cons, and problems arise if we overuse one style or don’t recognize which style is right for a current situation.
In our experience, how someone responds to conflict is strongly influenced by their personality. Learning about our own conflict styles goes hand in hand with learning about our own personality communication preferences and distress tendencies. That’s because four of the five styes (competing, avoiding, accommodating, and compromising), are indicative of distress, not healthy communication.
In this sense, I could argue that if I am dealing with conflict by competing, avoiding, accommodating or compromising, I am making things worse. My “style” is actually a liability.
Conflict negotiation is not a style, it’s a skill.
If you are looking to improve how your leaders deal with conflict, awareness of their “style” is much less important than learning actual skills and strategies to walk into any conflict situation and use that energy to generate positive outcomes. Are you training your leaders in conflict negotiation competencies?
Our Leading Out of Drama program, an alternative to conflict management training, teach a proven methodology for applying Compassionate Accountability® to achieve win-win solutions regardless of your natural style.
94% of our training participants rate our approach as superior to any other conflict/communication model they’ve used.