What Are Conflict Resolution Strategies?

The graphic features a man and a woman arguing with the woman holding her hands out toward the man.

As the go-to behavioral center in Colorado Springs, A Cognitive Connection is here to help you learn and understand healthy behaviors. Something that everyone deals with is conflict. Whether it’s workplace conflict or conflict with a loved one, it’s something that we’ll continuously experience throughout our lives. 

Our cognitive experts want to help you learn healthy conflict resolution strategies so you can create a plan of action when you’re faced with a conflict. There are five main conflict resolution strategies that were developed by Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann, which has become known as the Thomas-Kilmann model. Below, our team has gone into depth about these five strategies to help you learn the various ways that you can healthily resolve conflicts. 

Conflict Resolution Strategies

Individuals deal with conflict differently. Even if you and another person are placed in the exact same situation and faced with the same conflict, you would probably each have your own way of overcoming the conflict. The five strategies to deal with conflict are:

  1. Avoiding
    • This occurs when people are in a situation where the discomfort of confrontation outweighs the benefit of overcoming the conflict. People ignore the conflict at hand usually hoping it will resolve itself. Unfortunately, this method doesn’t usually result in a positive outcome because no productive conversations took place. 
  2. Competing
    • With this resolution strategy, an individual is authoritative and puts their needs in front of the other person’s needs. This also is a strategy that you should stray away from because it’s usually not healthy or productive to prioritize your own desires at the expense of someone else’s feelings.
  3. Accommodating
    • Accommodation occurs when someone satisfies another’s wants or needs before their own. While this may seem like “taking the high road,” it can result in you holding in unresolved issues and feeling resentful toward the other person.
  4. Collaborating
    • This is one of the best ways to resolve any conflict you are faced with in life. When you collaborate, you and the person have a productive discussion and create a solution where all parties feel supported.
  5. Compromising
    • The compromising conflict strategy means that each involved party is somewhat assertive and cooperative. A resolution is agreed upon that partially satisfies everyone involved, but no one is left getting everything they wanted. This is seen as one of the fairest conflict resolution methods because everyone is left with similar emotions and there isn’t one specific person that comes out on top. 

Choosing A Conflict Resolution Strategy

There are certain situations where each conflict resolution strategy mentioned above has its advantages. Because each situation is unique, it’s important to thoughtfully choose a conflict resolution strategy that’s right for you. To analyze a situation and decide which strategy is best, consider the following:

  1. Your Desires
  2. Possible Outcomes Of Your Desires Not Being Met
  3. Result Of Being Assertive In The Situation
  4. Decide If There’s A Possibility For A Collaboration

Improve Your Actions With A Cognitive Connection

As we go through life, it’s extremely helpful to be cognizant of our reactions to different situations. With A Cognitive Connection, we can help you better understand your go-to methods for dealing with conflicts and help you find a more positive resolution strategy if needed. Over time, you’ll become more comfortable with the different conflict resolution strategies and feel confident in your abilities to approach a conflict positively. To learn more about how our team can help you and the therapies we offer, please contact us today!

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