Based on the self-assessment done in section one above, it was evident that the conflict management style which I had the highest score was set D which means that I like forcing things or dominating over others. I was surprised at this outcome because I believed I am an accommodating person. I believe that even though I would always like to be heard, I am a person who can compromise for the sake of others.
The self-assessment revealed that I am a dominating person. The main advantage of this style is that people I interact with will not ignore my presence or opinions. They will have to take into consideration my views about different issues. Another style that I often use is collaboration. Collaboration as a style of conflict management is very advantageous because it seeks to ensure that everyone comes out as a winner. As Certo (2010) notes, the win-win approach of managing conflicts helps to ensure that all parties involved come out satisfied with the outcome. The resolution that is obtained from this style will always work for everyone. On the other hand, the main disadvantage of the domineering style of conflict management is that the other party comes out dissatisfied. According to Paton and McCalman (2008), the resolutions that are obtained when one party is feeling oppressed may not be sustainable. The losing party may decide to back out of the resolution at one time if an opportunity is presented to them. The collaborative style where both parties seek to have a common ground has the main disadvantage of being time-consuming. It takes too long to have a common ground that is acceptable to both parties.
From the self-assessment done in the section above, the conflict management style with the least score was accommodation, where I accept to lose in order to let others win. According to Certo (2010), people will always try to take advantage of a person who is accommodating. When they realize that one is always willing to lose for the sake of others, they will always make an effort to ensure that their views prevail over others. I believe that I stand to lose more than I can gain if I embrace this conflict management style. For this reason, I am absolutely not comfortable with this conflict resolution style. However, this does not mean that it lacks any benefits. One of the main benefits of this style is that other parties will always be comfortable with the outcome of the process. It may also take a short while to come up with a resolution if one of the parties involved is willing to compromise.
Summary of the Results
The self-assessment that I have just conducted revealed that when it comes to resolving conflicts, I tend to use two main approaches. The first approach that has gotten the highest score is domination. It has come out that sometimes I tend to force things to work my way even if it means that the other party comes out as a loser. It is true that in every forum that involves addressing contradicting opinions, I always try to ensure that my opinion is given priority over other opinions. I may not necessarily dismiss the opinions of other parties involved. However, I always prefer to have a situation where the other party pays attention to my opinion. This conflict resolution approach may work in some cases, but in others, it may result in a stalemate. As mentioned above, being forceful may sometimes be of benefit to a person. People always tend to give in when dealing with domineering people. Others who may want to take advantage of the party may not succeed when they realize that they are dealing with a forceful person. However, this approach has a number of shortcomings that make it necessary to review its application, especially in a highly diversified environment. When both parties are keen on winning at the expense of the other party, then reaching a compromise may be a very big challenge. This means that in most cases, such a forum would result in complete failure. Such rigid thinking may make it difficult to find solutions.
Another conflict management style that I often use as per the outcome of the assessment done above is collaboration. According to Levasseur (2009), this is the best approach to managing conflict. When using this approach, the conflicting parties cease to look at each other as warring groups. Instead, they look at themselves as partners with a common interest. They look at the conflict before them as a common problem that should be addressed from a common position. The aim of both parties is to find a common solution that will be pleasant to all the involved parties. Each party will try to find the best solution to the problem, but with the interest of the other party at heart.
According to Certo (2010), another common approach to solving conflicts in an organizational setting is to have a compromise situation where both parties win after conceding some of the demands. Both parties have to drop some of the demands the other party considers realistic. The main difference between this style and collaboration is that while collaboration advocates for a win for all, while this approach insists on win-lose for all. I use rarely use this method of conflict resolution.
The last method of conflict resolution is accommodation. The self-assessment review done above reveals that I rarely use this method. The main characteristic that made it undesirable to me is the fact that it embraces failure for the sake of having a common solution that is acceptable to other parties. I prefer having an active role whenever I come into a forum with other parties. I may be willing to make compromises, but only when I am assured that it will be in the interest of all the parties involved.
According to Colletti and Chonko (1997), sometimes it may be difficult to determine the overall style of conflict resolution that a person uses unless one is guided by a given set of questions. For instance, I had thought that I am an accommodating person when it comes to managing conflict. However, the assessment results show that I am far from being accommodating. On the contrary, it comes out that I am a domineering person, a personality that I sometimes find undesirable in some cases. This explains why some people live in denial. A person who uses force to resolve conflict may strongly believe that he is an accommodating person. This means that he or she may not take the views of critics seriously because they think they have a personality that they actually lack. Before the self-assessment done above, I could not be convinced that I am a forceful person. It is only after responding to the question that I realized that I am rigid when it comes to addressing conflicts. Being flexible is one of the most important aspects of having a good environment for conflict management. Both parties must be ready to accept a concept or opinion that is different from what they believed in before getting into the debate. To do this, both parties must appreciate the fact that they may be wrong in one way or the other when making a decision. They must be ready to make a compromise as long as they are convinced that it is the only way of coming up with a lasting solution.
Certo, S. C. (2010). Supervision: Concepts and skill-building. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.
Colletti, J. & Chonko, L. (1997). Change Management Initiatives: Moving Sales Organizations from Obsolescence to High Performance. The Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management 17(2), 1-30.
Levasseur, R. (2009). People Skills: Implementing Strategic Goals—A Change Management Perspective. Management Journal 39(4), 370-372.
Paton, R. A., & McCalman, J. (2008). Change Management: A Guide to Effective Implementation. London: Sage Publications.