Collaboration divides the task and multiplies the success.–unknown

In the past couple of weeks we’ve talked about two conflict styles – avoiding and competing.  Both have their down-sides, and both have situations when they can be used effectively.

As leaders we need to understand that conflict in the workplace in inevitable, and we need to know when to leverage each conflict mode so the differences don’t escalate into unhealthy situations.

This week we’ll share information about conflict style COLLABORATIVE. This style is viewed as a “win-win” since those with opposing views work together to find a solution that fully satisfies each of their concerns.

Skills associated with using the collaborative style include:

  • Identify both people’s underlying concerns
  • Create conditions that enable collaboration
  • State the conflict as a mutual problem
  • Analyze input with an open mind
  • Listen objectively and respond positively
  • Brainstorm solutions and pick the best one
  • Be open to the notion that what you felt initially may be replaced by a better solution

Ralph H. Kilmann, co-author of the Thomas-Kilmann Instrument (TKI) published a research study that correlated the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) results with TKI.

The findings reflected that people who were extraverted (those with “E” as the first letter of their MBTI type) were more likely to use the collaborative mode during times of conflict. He felt this was because collaborating required extra energy for the interactions required for discussing concerns with others.

He also felt that with awareness, those that typed out as “I” (introvert) can choose to engage in collaborative discussions when they’re willing and comfortable with putting forth extra effort.

Can you think of a time when the collaborative style would not serve you well? In general, it’s the most optimal style to use, but because it is time consuming, you may need to leverage other styles to drive solutions when time is of the essence.

Remember, all conflict modes have a time and place; effective leaders know when each style is most appropriate.