How do you handle conflict?
Most of us use a variety of styles depending on the person, the situation and our stress level. How we deal with our spouse at home is likely to be different than how we deal with our boss in the workplace.
Here are some brief thoughts on the strengths and struggles of 5 styles of dealing with conflict adapted from Johnson, 1981.
1. The Turtle: Avoidance
The strengths of this style is that this person can easily look past conflicts and realizes most conflicts will solve themselves out. They are calm on the outside and help de-escalate emotions in conflict.
The struggles with this style is the tendency to minimize, deny and avoid conflict all together. Major conflict tends to grow worse without coming out of the shell.
2. The Teddy Bear: Accommodation
The strengths of this style how likeable and lovable this person is in most situations. How could you be mad at them? They want and need harmony. They will accept blame to just bring peace to angry situations.
The struggles of this style is that they may be taken advantage of and become a doormat. The can enable others by not allowing them to face and wrestle with conflict. Secretly they tend to have a low self esteem and use likability from others as a way to build their own self confidence.
3. The Shark: Competition
The strength of this style is the ability to be strong, courageous, and bring a conflict out in the open quickly. They are a leader who can confront bullies.
The struggles are becoming too pushy, tactless, and hurting peoples feelings. They can escalate emotions and create barriers easily.
4. The Fox: Compromise
Their strength is communication, and willingness to find win-win or lose-lose compromises. Often the fox is able to craft intelligent intermediate solutions.
The struggles are deceptiveness and manipulation. People may feel outfoxed and cheated.
5. The Owl: Collaboration
The strength of this style is integrity. They can build trust, respect and deeper relationship. They are not tied to their way and tend to have an open mind for pragmatic solutions that create a win-win experience.
The struggles are you have to have two willing parties to collaborate. Two parties have to have high levels of communication skills and emotional intelligence. Some conflicts require quick solutions and this style may take too long.