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We all experience painful differences with others and this is a part of living. Perhaps more than any other challenge in life, our ability to work out differences with others affects our ability to live well and be happy. Yet most of us get little thoughtful guidance from parents and teachers on how to do this. We figure out a few things by trial and error, but we are often confused and hurt by what happens in conflicts. Everyone has his/her own style of dealing with conflicts. The techniques used by all of us depend on many variables like the underlying temperament, personasocio economiconomic status, environment analysis, upbringing, etc. The Kraybill Conflict Style Inventory provides practical help and specific method to deal with conflicts. The Kraybill questionnaire provides help one to understand the conflicting situation and how will you respond. With this questionnaire one can assess his own strengths and weaknesses and work constructively to improve them.6
As per the Kraybill Questionnaire, there are five major kinds of conflict resolution techniques. These are –
1. Co-operating – where focus on relationship and focus on own agenda is high. Here it is - I Win/You Win.
2. Directing – where focus on own agenda is high and focus on relationship is low. Here it is - I Win/You Lose.
3. Compromising – here focus on own agenda and relationship is medium. Here it is - I Win Some/You Win Some
4. Avoiding– here focus on own agenda and relationship both is low. Here it is - I Lose/You Lose
5. Harmonising – here focus on own agenda is low but on relationship is high. Here it is I lose/you win.
I think Kraybill questionnaire is an effective tool to sort out conflicts. My personal reflection after taking this questionnaire is that there is no fixed style for resolving conflict. Depending on the circumstances, I may sometimes opt for one technique and at times another. All styles have their own risks and benefits. But I think the cooperating and compromising is the best style where sense of achievement and satisfaction is maintained. It has room for creativity and personal growth.
Discuss how and why self-awareness of our own preferred conflict styles is useful when trying to mediate the conflict of others.
Self awareness is very crucial to manage conflict. At times when emotions are escalated, opinions differ; knowing yourself and being aware of one’s own feelings, moods, and thoughts can help to make the difference between escalation and resolution. Self awareness of preferred style helps to differentiate between passive and aggressive and help to act assertively.4
The main aim of following conflict styles is to use the appropriate conflict strategy effectively so that the two parties at conflict come to an amiable solution. Self awareness of my preferred styles helps me to become aware of my own behavior in times of conflict. It will help to monitor and manage my own emotions and behavior. Self-awareness requires in-depth scrutiny which is necessary for maintaining a successful interpersonal relationship 5
It is very important for me to make a conscious effort to understand why I prefer the two conflict styles. I think compromising style can be used when trying to mediate the conflict of others when both conflicting parties are equally powerful and equally exclusive and need a solution for a complex issue.If consensus cannot be reached then this style can be followed. However, this can help to create an atmosphere of cooperation, but it is inappropriate for resolving complex problems. It fails to givelong-termeffective solution. There isriskof addressing the symptoms of the conflict and not the causes. But when all other styles are ineffective, I think this is the only style that can work.
Cooperating style is the most effective style as per my perception. I think when synthesis of ideas is needed to come up with a better solution, self awareness of this style can help to integrate, define, redefine a problem and formulate an effective solution. As a cooperator, I have to develop the skill to listen, be honest, polite and avoid criticizing others. I realized that the
intentions must be clear and have to give clear explanation for my opinion. This style is time-consuming and if not done appropriately can result in fatigue, loss, and frustration.4 Besides self-awareness, mastering conflict situation requires emotional intelligence, courage, interpersonal skill and a deep self-understanding. There is no right or wrong conflict style. But whatever style you prefer, it requires self-reflection and self-mastery and this can be attained with self awareness which is the bedrock of impartiality.
1. Kraybill, Ron. "Style Matters The The Kraybill Conflict Style Inventory." 2 october 2018 <http://www.ipcrc.net/LDI/pdfs/StyleMatters2013.pdf>."Conflict Management." 2 october 2018 <http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/98501/7/chapter-6.pdf>.
2. Human Resource Services, University of Florida. "Mastering Conflict through Self-Awareness." 2 october 2018 <http://training.hr.ufl.edu/resources/LeadershipToolkit/job_aids/Mastering_Conflict_Through_Self_Awareness.pdf>.
3. Conflict Management." 2 october 2018 <http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/98501/7/chapter-6.pdf>.
4. Eilerman, Dale. "Agree to Disagree - The Use of Compromise in Conflict Management." october 2006. 2 october 2018 <https://www.mediate.com/articles/eilermanD7.cfm>.
5. Human Resource Services, University of Florida. "Mastering Conflict through Self-Awareness." 2 october 2018 <http://training.hr.ufl.edu/resources/LeadershipToolkit/job_aids/Mastering_Conflict_Through_Self_Awareness.pdf>.
6. Jones, Richard G. Communication in the Real World: An Introduction to Communication Studies. Flat World Knowledge, 2013