According to CPP:
85% of employees experience inevitable conflicts at work. 29% of employees said, that they have to deal with conflict almost constantly. Globally, the average time employees spend weekly on resolving disagreements in the workplace is 2.1 hours.
Conflict management is an essential skill that implies the ability:
- to identify
- to prevent
- to minimize
- to eliminate conflict in the workplace.
Why It Is Important: Lack of conflict management results in a loss of productivity and a higher likelihood of employees quitting.
In this context, we will discuss different conflict styles and suggest productivity tips tailored to each type.
Before delving into how conflict management styles impact productivity, it's important to first establish:
- when conflict management style awareness is important
- what are the most prevalent styles that can be identified in the workplace?
Importance of Understanding Your Conflict Management Style in the Workplace
Knowing your conflict management style is important in any situation in the workplace where there is disagreement or tension.
When there are tight deadlines to meet, conflicts can arise over differing opinions on how to approach the project or who should take the lead.
Misunderstandings in a team may relate to communication issues, lack of trust, cultural problems, and different work styles among team members.
When feedback is given on job performance, there may be differing opinions on what is expected and how goals should be achieved.
Changes in the workplace
Changes such as new policies or reorganization can create tension and conflict over differing opinions on how the changes should be implemented.
When dealing with clients, vendors, or partners, conflicts may arise over contract terms, pricing, or expectations. Understanding your conflict management style can help you to negotiate more effectively.
Conflict Management Styles in the Workplace
One such theory, which classifies personality types as turtles, sharks, teddy bears, foxes, and owls, helps people recognize how they handle conflict.
It's derived from the widely-known Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument categorizing styles into competing, accommodating, avoiding, collaborating, and compromising.
Turtles are known for being slow and methodical. They often take their time to make decisions and may be cautious when it comes to taking risks.
Preferred conflict management style⚡Avoidance
- Turtles tend to withdraw from conflict, often avoiding it altogether. They may shut down or evade confrontation to protect themselves from the discomfort of the conflict.
- This approach can be useful when the conflict is minor or when the parties involved are not emotionally invested in the outcome.
- However, those with a turtle conflict management style may have a tendency to procrastinate and struggle with managing their time effectively. This may be due to a tendency for conflict avoidance and difficulty in prioritizing tasks.
Productivity tips✅ Focus on #scheduling #projectmanagement
- They should focus on managing their task time effectively by breaking tasks down into smaller, more manageable steps.
- Turtles should also avoid procrastination and work on tasks consistently, rather than waiting until the last minute to complete them.
- Thus, they may benefit from creating detailed plans and schedules to ensure that they stay on track and avoid procrastination.
Sharks are known for being determined and self-confident. They often take charge in a conflict and may be focused on winning.
Preferred conflict management style⚡ Competition
- Sharks are highly competitive and assertive in their approach to conflict management. They tend to go straight for the kill, without much concern for the feelings of others.
- This approach can be beneficial in times demanding to resolve the situation quickly and efficiently. Sharks are able to communicate quickly and clearly which is also a major advantage in crisis management.
- However, it's important to be aware of the potential drawbacks of using a shark's approach, such as damaging relationships and creating resentment.
- Individuals who exhibit a shark style of conflict management tend to be effective in meeting deadlines but may struggle with setting clear priorities on their task lists.
Productivity tips✅ Focus on #prioritization #taskmanagement
- Since sharks tend to overfocus on winning, it's important for them to prioritize their tasks and try time tracking to stay organized.
- They can try creating a to-do list and completing the most important tasks first.
- Sharks should also set specific goals for themselves and track their progress.
- It's also advisable that sharks try to balance assertiveness with empathy and cooperation to achieve the best possible outcomes.
Teddy bears are known for being warm and empathetic. They often try to sidestep and give priority to preserving connections over achieving victory.
Preferred conflict management style⚡Accomodation
- Teddy bears are accommodating in their approach to conflict. They tend to maintain relationships at all costs, which results in giving in to others' demands in order to keep the peace.
- Being a teddy bear can be effective when dealing with clients or customers who may be upset or dissatisfied with a product or service. Showing empathy and a willingness to listen to their concerns can help to de-escalate the situation and find a mutually satisfactory solution.
- However, choosing this style implies a struggle with saying no to others.
- Teddy bears, as caring individuals, may be prone to putting the needs of others before their own, which is provoking chronic stress and burnout.
Productivity tips✅ Focus on #timemanagement #settingboundaries
- Teddy bears may benefit from learning the skill of delegation tasks.
- It's important for them to set boundaries and prioritize their own needs.
- Practicing time-blocking can help teddy bears stay focused and avoid getting sidetracked by other tasks or interruptions.
- To maintain productivity and avoid exhaustion, it's crucial to take breaks, practice mindfulness, or engage in activities that bring enjoyment and relaxation.
Foxes are known for being adaptable and flexible. They often look for creative solutions to problems and may be willing to compromise to find a mutually beneficial solution.
Preferred conflict management style⚡ Compromise
- Foxes are skilled at finding a compromise in conflict situations. They can see both sides of the issue and work to find a solution that satisfies everyone involved.
- Foxes tend to be very analytical and logical when it comes to managing conflicts. They rely on data and facts to make decisions.
- They are also very empathetic and able to understand the emotions of others, which makes them ideal negotiators.
- However, they may have trouble making decisions because they tend to see multiple sides of an issue and may have a hard time prioritizing what is most important.
Productivity tips✅ Focus on #taskdelegation #timetracking
- Foxes can benefit from implementing time management techniques such as the Pomodoro technique. It will be helpful with prioritizing their tasks and eliminating distractions.
- They should pay attention to upgrading their task management skills and start by breaking tasks down into smaller, more manageable steps.
- Also, foxes may benefit from being willing to delegate tasks to others and take breaks when needed to stay refreshed and focused.
Owls are known for being detail-oriented. They often focus on gathering information and may take a more methodical approach to conflict resolution.
Preferred conflict management style⚡ Collaboration
- Owls are collaborative in their address to conflict management. They seek to find a solution that benefits all parties and prefer to work together to achieve it.
- They demonstrate a preference for avoiding direct conflict and seeking compromise solutions.
- They keep the focus on finding win-win solutions and maintaining harmonious relationships.
- However, in situations where quick action is necessary, the owl's tendency to gather extensive information and analyze all options may not be practical.
Productivity tips✅ Focus on #flexibility #settinggoals
- Owls are typically proficient in areas such as research, analysis, and problem-solving, so utilizing these skills to your advantage can help to maximize productivity.
- Since they may feel strained when adapting to unexpected changes and interruptions to their schedules, owls need to practice flexibility by staying curious about new opportunities.
- It's also important for them to prioritize their tasks to avoid overthinking.
- Owls should also set realistic goals for themselves and celebrate their accomplishments along the way.
Side Note: It's important to note that conflict management styles are not set in stone, and individuals may display a combination of different approaches to managing conflicts.
Bonus🎁 5 Critical Conflict Management Skills and Techniques to Try
Enriching your soft skillset with conflict management skills can help manage conflicting situations in a constructive and positive way.
The most important conflict management skills that all conflict management styles can benefit from include:
- effective communication
- emotional intelligence
- stress management.
It is the first and foremost critical skill in conflict management.
According to Indeed, effective communication means that you:
- take notice of who you're communicating with
- adjust your language and nonverbal cues.
❗Avoid using language that's hurtful or inappropriate unless you don't want to escalate the conflict.
Technique To Try: It is essential to practice active listening, which involves focusing on what the other person is saying, understanding their perspective, and then responding.
Team collaboration is an important aspect of conflict management. In particular, conflict resolution requires cooperation and working together in order to uncover the source of the dispute while tackling matters with empathy and understanding.
Technique To Try: Collaborate with others to identify the root cause of the conflict by encouraging open communication among team members to gain a better understanding of their perspectives.
Effective problem-solving skills are crucial for conflict management as they enable the identification of problems and scripting the of win-win scenarios.
As per Coursera, the goal of conflict management is to minimize the potential negative impacts that can arise from disagreements and increase the chances of a positive outcome.
Technique To Try: Problem-solving involves identifying the problem, gathering information, brainstorming solutions, evaluating the options, and choosing the best solution. It is essential to focus on the issue and not the person involved in the conflict.
Emotional intelligence involves the ability to recognize, understand, and manage one's emotions.
Technique To Try: Start with remaining calm – it will keep you from clouding your judgment. Enable it by paying attention to your own emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Reflect on your reactions in different situations and identify what triggers certain emotions.
Stress management is a crucial skill in conflict management since conflicts can be unpleasant, and not all disputes require the same response; effectively managing stress levels helps one remain calm and focused during conflicts.
Technique To Try: Start with identifying the stressors – it will pave the way to crafting the best stress management solutions. Practice breathwork. Any form of exercise, from walking to yoga, can be beneficial for reducing stress.
- Conflict is a natural part of any workplace and can lead to positive outcomes when managed effectively.
- Recognizing conflict management tendencies in the workplace can be useful in identifying areas for improvement and developing strategies for dealing with conflicts and expanding the list of techniques for handling disagreements.
- Since there is a close connection between conflict resolution and productivity, achieving a balance between different conflict management styles is crucial.
- Effective conflict management strategies involve practicing active listening, fostering open communication, and utilizing skills such as teamwork and emotional intelligence to find mutually beneficial solutions.