Friday, 2 November 2012

How do you handle relationship conflict?

If you are interested in flexing your conflict handling muscle to improve your work and personal relationships then this blog is for you.

I seem to be working a lot with clients on this area of personal development in recent months.

An excellent tool for understanding your own conflict mode preferences is the Thomas-Kilmann instrument.

My thinking is that you will want to use each of the five modes highlighted in the instrument dependent on the situation.

For example, competing (forcing) your opinion and where you focus only on your concerns is best used where there is risk to health and safety; where your integrity/ethics may be compromised or where you are leading a group of assertive individuals and need to make a stand. The skills you require here are assertiveness and not being intimidated by others.

The second way of handling conflict is accommodating.This is where you concede your concerns and allow the other person to have it their way. This is best used where the matter in hand is far more useful to the other person than it is to you. It helps to build good faith for when you need your way.

Compromising is a useful conflict handling mode when you have little time to spare and the issue is important though not imperative to you. Each of you concede elements of what you want to arrive at a middle ground or compromise solution. The key skill required here is negotiation.

My personal favourite style is collaboration. This is best used for a challenging situation that requires thought and thoroughness to arrive at a decision. Both parties work to arrive at a higher solution that may bear no resemblance to the starting points of each other. The key skills required here are questioning and listening to get all concerns and issues on the table to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution.

Sometimes avoiding is a conflict handling style that is more useful than the other four where you need to postpone a decision to acquire more information or where you consider someone else best placed to decide and own.

If you have found this blog to be useful please leave me a message.

For all of your business and personal goals support please get in touch

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