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CONFLICT MANAGEMENT STYLES

CONFLICT MANAGEMENT
 

 

Contents

Reviews and Excercises

Ask KCI
In any conflict there is a relationship of some kind.

 Sometimes we are very committed to that relationship and our response communicates that to others.

Other times we are not very committed to that relationship, or at least in that moment we feel
and act as though
we don't care.



Directors/Competing
I win; You lose

Characteristics: High focus on own agenda and low focus on relationship

  • Strategies: Insist, demand, refuse to negotiate, discourage challenges, cite policy, instruct
  • Source of power: Control of resources, ability to impose consequences
  • Benefits: Speed, useful in emergencies, stability
  • Costs when over-used: Resentment, loss of cooperation, and reduced motivation in others

Strategies for Working with Directors:
Task-oriented, want to get the job done

  • Let them know you are committed to the task at hand.
  • If you need time to think and/or cool down, give them a specific time when you will come back.
  • Because Directors often feel responsible for those around them, look for ways to engage them about the needs of others.
  • Don't withdraw without giving some clue about your intentions.
  • If the Director has more power than you and has a history of abusing others, look for a path to safety.

Most useful when:

  • An emergency looms
  • There is no time for give-and-take discussion
  • You are sure you're right, and being right matters more than preserving relationships
  • The issue is trivial and others don't really care what happens
  • Weaker parties need to be protected from stronger ones
  • Principles are at stake and must not be compromised, regardless of cost

Least useful when:

  • Cooperating has not yet been attempted
  • Support and cooperation of others who want to be treated as equals is important
  • Used routinely for most issues; others either get annoyed and resist and or fall into passiveness and dependency in the presence of someone who chronically directs
  • Self-respect of others is diminished needlessly
How to bring out the "BEST" in someone who scores high in DIRECTING/COMPETING
  • People who use the Directing style a lot are often task oriented. They are usually quite productive and concerned to get the job done. Engage them and let them know you are committed to the task at hand or resolving the issue satisfactorily. If you need time to think things through or cool down, they are usually fine with this if you ask, so long as you indicate clearly a commitment to returning to resolve things. You will get more positive response if you state specifically when you will come back (e.g., in an hour, or tomorrow at nine a.m.).
  • Though their task focus makes it easy to forget the feelings and needs of others many Directors feel deeply responsible for those around them and may feel quite bad if they realize they have wounded others. Look for ways to engage them about the needs of others in settings where they are not in the middle of a big job.
  • Directors usually prefer to deal with things now and get anxious when others are silent or passive. Don't withdraw without giving some clue about your intentions. Lack of information about this will increase their anxiety and anger.
  • A Directing person who is angry can be quite intimidating, for this style is the most active, and "in your face" when anger is high. If this person has a history of abusing others emotionally or otherwise and holds more power than you, look for a path to safety of shelter. If the person is basically healthy emotionally, simply asking for a chance to cool off and think often helps, so long as you state clearly your intention to return and work on things.
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