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Conflict Management Styles Assessment

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There are five core conflict management styles: Competing, Collaborating, Avoiding, Accommodating, and Compromising. Do you know which one you utilize most often when approached with a conflict? Take this 15-question assessment to figure it out. 

Keep in mind that one style of conflict management is not necessarily better than another; each style has pros and cons, and each can be useful depending on the situation. This assessment is intended to help you identify your typical response to conflict, with the goal that when you encounter future conflicts, you will be aware of not only your instinctive reaction, but also the pros and cons of that reaction for the specific situation. Furthermore, you will also be aware of the other styles of conflict management that you could draw on to resolve the situation, if one of the other styles is more appropriate for the current situation.  

To what extent does each statement describe you?  Please read each statement and write down a response from 1 (rarely) to 5 (always) that best describes you.  Make sure to keep track of your answers as you will need the numbers to find out your style!  Be honest - this survey is designed to help you learn about your conflict management style. There are no right or wrong answers!  

In the past 6 months, how often did you do the following to handle conflicts?

  1. If someone disagrees with me, I vigorously defend my side of the issue.
  2. I go along with suggestions from peers, even if I don’t agree with them.
  3. I give-and-take so that an agreement can be reached.
  4. I keep my opinions to myself rather than openly disagree with people.
  5. In disagreements or negotiations, I try to find the best possible solutions for both sides by sharing information.
  6. I try to reach a middle ground in disputes with other people.
  7. I go along with the wishes of people who have different points of view than my own.
  8. I refrain from openly debating issues where there is disagreement.
  9. In negotiations, I hold on to my position rather than give in.
  10. I try to solve conflicts by finding solutions that benefit both me and the other person.
  11. I let peers have their way rather than jeopardize our relationship.
  12. I try to win my position in a discussion.
  13. I investigate conflicts with peers so that we can discover solutions that benefit both of us.
  14. It is not worth the time and trouble discussing my differences of opinion with other people.
  15. To reach an agreement, I give up some things in exchange for others.
  • Assessment

     As stated, the 15 statements correspond to the five approaches to conflict management. To find your most preferred style, total the points for each. The one with the highest score indicates your most commonly used strategy. The one with the lowest score indicates your least preferred strategy. However, all styles have pros and cons, so it's important that you can use the most appropriate style for each conflict situation.


    Competing                (1)_______ + (9)________ + (12)_______ = __________

    Accommodating       (2)________ + (7)_______ + (11)________ = __________

    Compromising          (3)________ + (6)_______ + (15)________ = __________

    Avoiding                    (4)________ + (8)_______ + (14)________ = __________

    Collaborating             (5)________ + (10)_______ + (13)________ = __________

     

    Remember the style with the highest score is the way in which you approach conflict most often. The styles listed below range on a scale from most assertive to most cooperative. 

Conflict Management Styles

Competing

Individuals who compete can be assertive and uncooperative. They value their own goals over the goals of others. They may view being right as more important than preserving the relationship with the other party.

When to use:

  • A quick, decisive action is required, such as in an emergency situation.
  • You are certain that you are correct /or that it's in the best interest of all parties involved. 

Collaborating

Individuals who collaborate use a combination of being assertive and cooperative to work with others to find solutions that are beneficial to everyone. These individuals see conflict as an opportunity to improve relationships and reduce tensions.

When to use:

  • The concerns of everyone involved are of utmost importance.
  • There is a high degree of trust among everyone involved in the conflict.

Avoiding

These individuals may step away from a situation to gain clarity. This may even include giving up their goals or relationships to avoid conflict.

"Perhaps if we don't bring it up, it will blow over"

When to use:

  • You need time to think through the situation before moving forward with a resolution.
  • The issue is one that is so trivial there is no point in putting time and energy into dealing with it.

Accommodating

Individuals who accommodate may put the needs of others before their own. These individuals generally value their relationships over their own goals, but almost never leave a conflict satisfied.

When to use:

  • The issue is trivial, and the outcome really doesn't matter.
  • Harmony is actually more important than resolving the situation that is in conflict.
  • It's important to let the other person learn from their own mistakes.

Compromising 

Compromise is both sides willing to give up something to gain something in return: a middle ground between two positions. Individuals with this style are willing to sacrifice some in order to find an agreement.

When to use:

  • The people who are in conflict are willing to be flexible.
  • The affected individuals will be satisfied with getting part of what they want.
  • As a back-up plan for collaboration, in situations where a win-win outcome isn't possible.