What is your Conflict Response Style?
When an argument breaks out, or tensions are simmering around you, how do you respond? Do you leap in, all guns blazing (metaphorically speaking) or do you shrink back, hoping no one will notice you and drag you in to it? Perhaps you freeze and never know what to do with yourself?
What about when you know you need to raise a touchy topic with someone? Do you defer and avoid the conversation? Or do you confront it – and them – head on?
Think back to a time recently when you have faced conflict – perhaps it was a situation at work or an argument with a loved one. How did you respond? How did it make you feel? What did you do to resolve the conflict? Or does it remain unresolved?
Observe yourself in everyday conversation and see how you react to the people around you.
Once you have identified your Conflict Response Style, you can think about whether you wish to change it, or if its working well for you and doesn't;t require any changes.
I typically take some time to weigh all the angles (not that it is a drawn out process, but it is dependent on the specific situation and the potential magnitude of consequences). After that I approach the situation head on, but I do try to remain flexible.
Naturally, I avoid conflict. I prefer pushing away an issue, hoping it won't happen a second time so as to prolong the need to deal with it. This is especially true in my personal life and have yet to really overcome this.
At work however, the stakes are much higher as the company and community will potentially suffer. Consequently, everything gets laid on the table. Honesty is the best policy. I find it incredibly hard to deal with people who are not upfront and honest, as this only builds up tension that will surface later. We make a point at SavvySME, to have a session once every month or so where every person in the team has to make one complimentary point, and one of criticism about every other person. The goal is to break down any facade or tendency to purely say what the other person wants to hear.