It is important to recognize and understand your conflict resolution style and the style of those around you.
Avoidance: People who lean toward this style prefer not to address conflict at all. Usually, these people will wait for conflict to blow over, avoid the issues, stay silent or physically absent, and/or joke around.
Example – You know your partner is mad, so you work late to avoid them.
Accommodation: People with this style prefer to smooth over conflicts by not making waves. They give up on their own goals out of concern or fear of the other party. This style can lead to more conflict because the accommodators do not let their true feelings known.
Example – All of your friends are going to a movie you hate, but you go with them instead of making another recommendation.
Compromise: People with a compromise style try to find a solution that will partially satisfy everyone. Compromising style individuals respond to conflict as a tradeoff: They give up some of their own goals and persuade others to do the same.
Example – You want pizza, but your dad wants Chinese, so instead, the two of you talk, and to get Mexican because it was the second choice for both of you.
Collaboration: This style works to develop mutually satisfying agreements in a trusting atmosphere. Individuals with this style respect the interests and needs of others and they are motivated toward problem-solving and openly sharing information.
Example – Your girlfriend wants the both of you to visit her parents for Christmas, and you want to visit your family. The two of you have a long conversation, negotiate, and agree that Christmas with her family is the better choice this year, but you will both go to yours for Thanksgiving.
Competition: These individuals dominate and force decisions on others by overpowering them. It does not mean they are uncaring, but they must “win” and will do so by any means necessary. This style relies on an aggressive style of communication.
Example – Your co-workers are all discussing the way to do a project, and you insist that your way is best.
If you know what pushes your buttons, you can choose to effectively resolve or avoid conflict with your significant other, co-worker, family member and friends. For more information, contact your local installation Marine Corps Family Team Building program.