I would submit effectively dealing with conflict is one of the most valuable skills a leader can possess.—Mike Myatt

Last week we talked about how many leaders struggle with addressing conflict, and as a result the conflict is sometimes avoided. We also shared that there is a time and place to be an “avoider”, but when used inappropriately, avoiders may be viewed as weak and unassertive.

Now we’re switching gears. Do you have a need to win? Are you uncooperative and assertive? Are you power oriented? If yes, you’ll likely score high in the “compete” style.  This style may not serve you well. You may win, but it also means someone loses; not an ideal work relationship!

For those familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI), the types most aligned with the competitive style are types ESTJ (extroverted-sensing-thinking-judging) and ENTJ (extroverted-intuitive-thinking-judging).

These types prefer facts and data, and may not be as concerned about the feelings and impact their style may have on others. Just something to be aware of!

All styles have a time and place and the compete mode is no different. It can be effective when:

  • You’ve considered all styles and competing is truly the most effective
  • Quick, decisive actions are vital (ex. emergencies)
  • When unpopular actions are mandated/non-negotiable (ex. cost cutting, audit points, rule enforcement)
  • When a stand must be taken and there is not time for collaboration
  • Defending something you know is correct
  • When one’s position is being challenged/insubordination occurs

We suggest using this style on a limited basis as the consequences may include:

  • Feelings of intimidation which may shut down lines of communication
  • Strained relationships
  • Resentment and retaliation
  • A lack of commitment
  • A lack of caring

When there is a need to use the “compete” mode, pay special attention to your tone and body language. There’s no need to make the situation even more confrontational than it already is.

As we’ve stated before, conflict in the workplace is unavoidable; what’s key is to prevent the conflict from escalating into an unhealthy situation.  Productivity, communication, collaboration, inspiration, morale, and growth will all suffer if not properly managed.

The “compete” mode has a time place, just use it sparingly!


QWIKTIPS – click to read about ACTIONS and BELIEFS