We each have our own way of dealing with conflict. The techniques we use are based on many variables such as our basic underlying temperament, our personality, our environment and where we are in our professional career. However, by and large there are five major styles of conflict management techniques in our tool box. In order to address conflict we draw from a collaborating, competing, avoiding, harmonizing or compromising style of management. None of these strategies is superior in and of itself. How effective they are depends on
the context in which they are used.
Each statement below provides a strategy for dealing with a conflict. Rate each statement on a scale of 1 to 4
indicating how likely you are to use this strategy.
1 = Rarely 2 = Sometimes 3 = Often 4 = Always
Be sure to answer the questions indicating how you would behave rather than how you think you should
1. I explore issues with others so as to find solutions that meet everyone’s needs. _______
2. I try to negotiate and adopt a give-and-take approach to problem situations. _______
3. I try to meet the expectations of others. _______
4. I would argue my case and insist on the merits of my point of view. _______
5. When there is a disagreement, I gather as much information as I can and keep the
lines of communication open. _______
6. When I find myself in an argument, I usually say very little and try to leave as soon
as possible. _______
7. I try to see conflicts from both sides. What do I need? What does the other person
Need? What are the issues involved? _______
8. I prefer to compromise when solving problems and just move on. _______
9. I find conflicts challenging and exhilarating; I enjoy the battle of wits that usually follows. ______
10. Being at odds with other people makes me feel uncomfortable and anxious. _______
11. I try to accommodate the wishes of my friends and family. _______
12. I can figure out what needs to be done and I am usually right. _______
13. To break deadlocks, I would meet people halfway. _______
14. I may not get what I want but it’s a small price to pay for keeping the peace. _______
15. I avoid hard feelings by keeping my disagreements with others to myself. _______
How to score the Conflict Management Quiz:
As stated, the 15 statements correspond to the five conflict resolution styles. To find your most preferred style,
total the points in the respective categories. The one with the highest score indicates your most commonly used
strategy. The one with the lowest score indicates your least preferred strategy. However, if you are a leader
who must deal with conflict on a regular basis, you may find your style to be a blend of styles.
Style Corresponding Statements: Total:
Collaborating: 1, 5, 7 _______
Competing: 4, 9, 12 _______
Avoiding: 6, 10, 15 _______
Harmonizing: 3, 11, 14 _______
Compromising: 2, 8, 13 _______
Brief Descriptions of the Five Conflict Management Styles
Collaborating Style: Problems are solved in ways in which an optimum result is provided for all involved.
Both sides get what they want and negative feelings are minimized.
Pros: Creates mutual trust; maintains positive relationships; builds commitments.
Cons: Time consuming; energy consuming.
Competing Style: Authoritarian approach.
Pros: Goal oriented; quick.
Cons: May breed hostility.
Avoiding Style: The non-confrontational approach.
Pros: Does not escalate conflict; postpones difficulty.
Cons: Unaddressed problems; unresolved problems.
Harmonizing Style: Giving in to maintain relationships.
Pros: Minimizes injury when we are outmatched; relationships are maintained.
Cons: Breeds resentment; exploits the weak.
Compromising Style: The middle ground approach.
Pros: Useful in complex issues without simple solutions; all parties are equal in power.
Cons: No one is ever really satisfied; less than optimal solutions get implemented.