Interesting Conflict Strategies

Tuesday, 7 May 2013 0 comments

Different people use different strategies for managing conflicts. These strategies are learned, usually in childhood, and they seem to function automatically. Usually we are not aware of how we act in conflict situations. We just do whatever seems to come naturally. The 5 styles of managing conflict are:

1. The Turtle (Withdrawing) – Turtles withdraw into their shells to avoid conflict. They give up their personal goals and their relationships. They stay away from topics that may bring conflict and they avoid people with whom they are in conflict. Turtles believe it is hopeless to try to resolve conflicts. They feel helpless. Turtles believe it is easier to withdraw from a conflict than to face it.

2. The Shark (Forcing) – Sharks try to overpower opponents by forcing them to accept their solution to the conflict. Sharks make their goals of the highest importance; relationships are less important. They seek to achieve their goal at all costs. They are not concerned with the needs of other people. They do not care if other people like them or accept them. Sharks assume that conflicts are settled by one person winning and the other person losing. They want to be the winners in the conflict. Winning gives them a sense of pride and achievement. Losing gives them a sense of weakness, inadequacy and failure. They try to win by attacking, overwhelming and intimidating other people.

3. The Teddy Bear (Smoothing) – To teddy bears, the relationship is of greatest importance, while their goals are of little importance. Teddy bears want to be accepted and liked by other people. They think that conflict should be avoided in favour of harmony. They believe that conflict cannot be discussed without damaging the relationship. They are afraid that if the conflict continues, someone will get hurt and that would ruin the relationship. Teddy bears say, “I’ll give up my goals and let you have what you want in order for you to like me”. Teddy bears smooth over the conflict.

4. The Fox (Compromising) – Foxes are moderately concerned with their own goals and about their relationships with other people. Foxes seek compromise. They give up part of their goals and persuade the other person in a conflict to give up part of his goals. Foxes seek a solution to conflict that allows both sides to gain something. They seek the middle ground between two positions. Foxes are willing to give up a bit of their goals and relationships for the common good

5. The Owl (Confronting) – Owls highly value their own goals and their relationships. They view conflict as problems to be solved and seek a solution that achieves both their goals and the goals of the other person in the conflict. Owls see conflicts as improving relationships by reducing tension between two people. They try to begin a discussion by identifying conflict as a problem to be solved. By seeking solutions that satisfy both themselves and the other person, they maintain the relationship. Owls are not satisfied until they find a solution that satisfies both parties and that resolves the tension and negative feelings between the parties.

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