Choosing Your Management Style

Regardless of the setting, business, or culture, people take on the roles of managers in a myriad of ways. Each manager has his or her preferred style of dealing with everything from celebration to conflict. Conflict, however, seems to be one of the few situations within a business that always has a different outcome based on how the manager prefers to manage. Even though five theorized types of conflict management exist, three specific types stand out as essential study topics. The differences between the management styles of competition, compromise, and avoidance are noticeable but still maintain similar qualities. One of the more common conflict management styles I have seen in the world is manager that sees everything as a competition.

Competition can be found in all walks of life. Different forms of competition can either plague or bless a group of people and their management. Regardless of the type of competition, it is abundantly clear that competition usually leads to the success of at least one person’s rise through the business or group. The power struggle and balance of self-accommodation versus selflessness leans heavily in one direction with competitive conflict management.

Competition can be healthy when done correctly and for the right reasons. If a competition is set up to push employees or group members forward into a better and more experienced environment, where the outcome is fair for all involved, then competition can be a good thing. As long as the management style doesn’t create, “great defensiveness, messages that blame others, and efforts to control other group members,” then everything will be done for the betterment of the group.

The compromise conflict style, the one I use the most in my management skills, seeks to achieve a resolution to all parties involved. If all members of a situation have their needs met, even if some are not fulfilled to the highest degree, then a compromise has happened. Unfortunately, like most conflict management styles, compromising can mean that all parties involved are not satisfied, and the group is left with even more dissension. It is entirely possible that the emotional stability of the group members can falter into behavioral anger if the needs of the group are not met with positive reinforcement.

Even though this is my preferred method of conflict management, ground must be carefully walked to ensure all members of the group are satisfied. Compromise is often the preferred method of conflict management when the group is on a time crunch and must institute a decision quickly and efficiently. In fact, without suitable compromise in almost every facet of conflict management, no consensus that benefits the entire group would ever be made. Instead, a might find itself plagued with discrepancies due to team members not fulfilling the entirety of their work.

Avoidance, on the other hand, foregoes all conflict and seeks to sidestep conflict with the hope that is all goes away. When this happens, the possibility of the group deteriorating from within can happen due to the origins of the conflict still afflicting the group, as well as dissonance in all future work between the group members. Although it is possible to maintain harmony among group members without conflict, avoiding it altogether can sometimes start a chain reaction that hinders all future work.

Fortunately, it is not always terrible to avoid conflict. It is entirely possible that the group needs a break from the disagreement, and some time to think about things is just what the group needs. Other times, the disagreement may not benefit or relate to the status quo, thus the conflict is best to leave alone and let the group move on to more beneficial topics. Avoiding conflict might not be the best option, but certain situations sometimes calls for level-headed people to take a step back and analyze everything.

Throughout my tenure of working in groups as a member and as a leader, I have come to find that compromise serves my purposes to the best of my sensibilities. As a person that heavily seeks approval, validity, and amiability from every person in my life, it is only fitting that I seek compromise in my conflict management style. Compromise allows work to be finished efficiently and with quality, while also allowing each member, as well myself, to look good in the process. One idea that crosses my mind is the idea that compromise allows each team member to come to a beneficial consensus. Some scholars agree that a positive approach to resolving any kind of conflict is key to assuring quality, positive reactions, and efficient group work.

Unfortunately, compromise does not always work well with other management styles. For instance, if one person wants to avoid the conflict altogether, but another continually attempts them to come to a compromise, a conflict of interests will spark, and no consensus will ever be met. The compromise management style will most likely cave and allow the avoidance to happen but only as a last resort. Even though that is a form of compromise, the end result will always play towards the favor of one management style.

Thankfully, employing the use of compromise in conflict management has many ways of catering to each style. The person that seeks to make a compromise will almost always find a way to come to an agreement with the other members of a group. When the situation calls for competition, avoidance, accommodation, or collaboration, the compromise style will usually come a conclusion that helps all parties involved. Although this can be difficult, most group members will find a common interest that culminates into efficiency.      

Every person approaches a situation involving conflict differently. Some choose to make a competition out of it, whereas the overall winner will prove a resolution. Others seek to appease everybody by eliciting a compromise for all members involved. Some will step back from the conflict and avoid it all costs. The real conundrum lies in figuring out which ones are best to use and which ones are not. Distinct advantages and disadvantages line the fabrics of each style of conflict management. While no specific answer to the efficiency of each one exists, it is entirely possible to work together with conflicting styles to reach an appeasement. Even though I use compromise as a leading factor in my conflict management, it does not mean that I am not open to other styles and how they can affect or not affect a situation. Regardless of the type of conflict management style employed, a consensus can always be reached with the right attitude, emotional state, and overall willingness to comply.

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