What even is Conflict?
When you hear the word “conflict” what words come to mind?
Usually the answers to that question include: Argument, Fight, Debate, Yelling, Problem, Crying, Stressful, Uncomfortable, Anger
Dictionary definitions usually divide “conflict” into three subsets:
An argument or disagreement, particularly a protracted one.
A formal government/military word for battle or war
Any situation in which two things are not the same, making them inherently in opposition
The first two focus on the negative connotation usually associated with the word conflict. But the last definition - the one focusing on the larger concept of the word - is what we are talking about.
Using this conceptual definition, “conflict” then becomes less argumentative and more difference-based. And considering literally no two people on the planet are exactly the same, it stands to reason that every one of us is living in a perpetual state of conflict with everyone else.
Let that sink in for a minute...
Every one of us is living in a perpetual state of conflict.
That sounds a little scary. But it doesn’t have to be.
If we can become more aware of our natural inclinations when dealing with people and situations which pose differences or uncertainties since, we can be more successful in dealing with conflict.
That’s what this personal inventory assessment intends to do - reveal more about how people approach and respond to conflict (or differences) in their daily lives.
What are the 5 Conflict Management Styles?
Everyone approaches conflict a little differently. Below, I’ve listed the five most common conflict management styles. Take a look at the short descriptions and see if there are any you relate to!
The Collaborating Owl
The strength of this style is integrity. Owls can build trust, respect and deeper relationships. They are not tied to their way and tend to have an open mind for pragmatic solutions that create a win-win experience.
The struggle is that owls must have two willing parties to collaborate. These parties must have high levels of communication skills and emotional intelligence. Some conflicts require quick solutions and this style may take too long.
The Accommodating Teddy Bear
The strength of this style is how like-able and lovable this person is in most situations. How could you be mad at them? They want and need harmony. They will accept blame just to bring peace to angry situations.
The struggle of this style is that a teddy bear may be taken advantage of, becoming a doormat. They can enable others by not allowing them to face and wrestle with conflict. Secretly, they tend to have low self-esteem and use likability from others as a way to build their own self-confidence.
The Avoiding Turtle
The strength of this style is that this person can easily look past conflicts and realizes most conflicts will solve themselves. They are calm on the outside and help de-escalate emotions in conflict.
The struggle with this style is the tendency to minimize, deny, and avoid conflict altogether. Major conflict tends to grow worse when it isn’t addressed.
The Compromising Fox
Their strength is communication and a 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 by foxes.
The Competing Shark
The strength of this style is the ability to be strong, courageous, and bring a conflict out in the open quickly. A shark is a leader that can confront bullies.
The struggles are becoming too pushy, tactless, and hurting peoples’ feelings. Sharks can escalate emotions and create barriers easily.
Which Animal are You?
These descriptions are just a very short snippet of what each style includes. And don’t worry if you don’t see a 100% match! We all use different styles depending on the situation at hand, and sometimes learn how to employ styles that don’t come naturally to us.
Want to dive deeper? We can do individual assessments for you or your team that will help you pinpoint your style and learn even more. So, let’s plan a workshop for your team or an individual coaching session where we can really explore which adorable animal represents your conflict management style!