50 Activities for Conflict Resolution
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5. As you become successful at dealing with conflict, you will likely find that
others will see value in how you handle situations and come to respect you
for that.
6. Novices in resolving conflict often do not know how to handle it, and
appreciate help from those who have conflict-resolution skills.
7. An “I don’t care” attitude will not get you very far. You will care when
you are comfortable with the situation and know how to reach a positive
resolution.
SUMMARY
As in any undertaking, the more you know about a subject, the more comfortable
you will be with it and the easier it will become. Because conflict is pervasive in
today’s workplace, it is especially important that people work to overcome their
discomfort and be willing to invest their time to learn to deal with conflict in a
positive way.
Clearly there are many more reasons why people avoid trying to resolve conflict;
you may have some others of your own. However, the Points to Consider should
get you thinking about the avoidance issue.
Four Conflict Resolution Styles:
When to Use Each
119
PURPOSE OF THE EXERCISE: To become more familiar with the four basic
conflict-resolution styles, and to learn to recognize when one style will be more
useful than others.
INTRODUCTION: There are four conflict-resolution styles: Avoidance,
Competition, Adaptation, and Cooperation. Each of these four styles works best
in different circumstances. This exercise is an opportunity to explore situations
when one style might be more effective than others.
WORKSHEET
The four conflict resolution styles are identified as:
Avoidance—where people withdraw to avoid conflict. They believe it is hopeless
to try to resolve conflict, and usually step away from a conflict situation. This
style leads to a “lose-lose” situation.
Competition—where one disputant tries to overpower another disputant by
forcing his or her own solution on the other person. This style is considered a
“win-lose” approach.
Adaptation—where people feel that relationships are more important than their
own goals. They want to be liked and accepted; harmony is the important goal.
These people are choosing a “lose-win” approach.
Cooperation—where disputants highly value their own goals and relationships
with others. They consider conflicts as problems to be solved, and want both
parties to achieve their goals. These disputants are not satisfied until an
acceptable solution is found for both parties. They have chosen a “win-win”
approach.
The chart the following page contains statements describing when certain
styles are particularly useful. Read each statement and identify which style
you believe would be most effective for that situation by placing a check mark
in the appropriate column.
When you finish, you’ll find the correct answers on the following page. Check to
see how you did.
50 Activities for Conflict Resolution
120
Place your checkmark in the appropriate column.
Avoidance Competition Adaptation Cooperation
Useful when quick
action is needed
Useful when you need
to gain commitment
Useful to postpone
tension
Useful to maintain
balance and harmony
Useful to delay action
while gaining more
information
Useful in situations
where someone tries to
take advantage of
noncompetitive
behavior
Useful to allow for
mutual exploration of
creative approaches
Useful when others
might solve the
conflict more
effectively
Useful when it is
not important for
you to win
Useful when emotions
are strong
Useful when
relationships are
important to both
Useful when the
issue is worth the
consequences
Four Conflict Resolution Styles: When to Use Each
121
50 Activities for Conflict Resolution
122
Check your answers.
Avoidance Competition Adaptation Cooperation
Useful when quick
action is needed
Useful when you need
to gain commitment
Useful to postpone
tension
Useful to maintain
balance and harmony
Useful to delay action
while gaining more
information
Useful in situations
where someone tries
to take advantage of
noncompetitive
behavior
Useful to allow for
mutual exploration of
creative approaches
Useful when others
might solve the
conflict more
effectively
Useful when it is
not important for
you to win
Useful when emotions
are strong
Useful when
relationships are
important to both
Useful when the
issue is worth the
consequences
SUMMARY
The information in the chart above suggests that there are times when one
particular style works best. However, there may be times when alternative

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