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Self-Assessment Tool: Conflict Handling Styles

The self-assessment tools are intended as a first step in helping you to define issues that may be important to your effectiveness in a leadership capacity.The value in these assessments is in answering them as honestly as you can, and then following through on the learning that they might indicate.Remember that leadership skills can be learned.  Your current assessment need not be the same as your future assessment.  Think of this as a learning opportunity.

Organizational and personal effectiveness are often influenced by how conflict is managed. How do you handle conflict in your life?

Instructions

Each numbered item contains two statements that describe how people deal with conflict. Distribute 5 points between each pair of statements. The statement that more accurately reflects your likely response should receive the highest number of points. For example, if response (a) strongly describes your behaviour, then record

5 a.

0 b.

However, if (a) and (b) are both characteristic, but (b) is slightly more characteristic of your behaviour than (a), then record

2 a.

3 b.

1. ____ a. I am most comfortable letting others take responsibility for solving a problem.
____ b. Rather than negotiate differences, I stress those points for which agreement is obvious.
2. ____ a. I pride myself in finding compromise solutions.
____ b. I examine all the issues involved in any disagreement.
3. ____ a. I usually persist in pursuing my side of an issue.
____ b. I prefer to soothe others’ feelings and preserve relationships.
4. ____ a. I pride myself in finding compromise solutions.
____ b. I usually sacrifice my wishes for the wishes of a peer.
5. ____ a. I consistently seek a peer’s help in finding solutions.
____ b. I do whatever is necessary to avoid tension.
6. ____ a. As a rule, I avoid dealing with conflict.
____ b. I defend my position and push my view.
7. ____ a. I postpone dealing with conflict until I have had some time to think it over.
____ b. I am willing to give up some points if others give up some too.
8. ____ a. I use my influence to have my views accepted.
____ b. I attempt to get all concerns and issues immediately out in the open.
9. ____ a. I feel that most differences are not worth worrying about.
____ b. I make a strong effort to get my way on issues I care about.
10. ____ a. Occasionally I use my authority or technical knowledge to get my way.
____ b. I prefer compromise solutions to problems.
11. ____ a. I believe that a team can reach a better solution than any one person can working independently.
____ b. I often defer to the wishes of others.
12. ____ a. I usually avoid taking positions that would create controversy.
____ b. I’m willing to give a little if a peer will give a little, too.
13. ____ a. I generally propose the middle ground as a solution.
____ b. I consistently press to “sell” my viewpoint.
14. ____ a. I prefer to hear everyone’s side of an issue before making judgements.
____ b. I demonstrate the logic and benefits of my position.
15. ____ a. I would rather give in than argue about trivialities.
____ b. I avoid being “put on the spot.”
16. ____ a. I refuse to hurt a peer’s feelings.
____ b. I will defend my rights as a team-member.
17. ____ a. I am usually firm in pursuing my point of view.
____ b. I’ll walk away from disagreements before someone gets hurt.
18. ____ a. If it makes peers happy, I will agree with them.
____ b. I believe that give-and-take is the best way to solve any disagreement.
19. ____ a. I prefer to have everyone involved in a conflict generate alternatives together.
____ b. When the team is discussing a serious problem, I usually keep quiet.
20. ____ a. I would rather openly resolve conflict than conceal differences.
____ b. I seek ways to balance gains and losses for equitable solutions.
21. ____ a. In problem-solving, I am usually considerate of peers’ viewpoints.
____ b. I prefer a direct and objective discussion of any disagreement.
22. ____ a. I seek solutions that meet some of everyone’s needs.
____ b. I will argue as long as necessary to get my position heard.
23. ____ a. I like to assess the problem and identify a mutually agreeable solution.
____ b. When people challenge my position, I simply ignore them.
24. ____ a. If peers feel strongly about a position, I defer to it even if I don’t agree.
____ b. I am willing to settle for a compromise solution.
25. ____ a. I am very persuasive when I have to be to win in a conflict situation.
____ b. I believe in the saying, “Kill your enemies with kindness.”
26. ____ a. I will bargain with peers in an effort to manage disagreement.
____ b. I listen attentively before expressing my views.
27. ____ a. I avoid taking controversial positions.
____ b. I’m willing to give up my position for the benefit of the group.
28. ____ a. I enjoy competitive situations and “play” hard to win.
____ b. Whenever possible, I seek out knowledgeable peers to help resolve disagreements.
29. ____ a. I will surrender some of my demands, but I have to get something in return.
____ b. I don’t like to air differences and usually keep my concerns to myself.
30. ____ a. I generally avoid hurting a peer’s feelings.
____ b. When a peer and I disagree, I prefer to bring the issue out into the open so we can discuss it.

Scoring

Record your responses (number of points) in the space next to each statement number below and then sum the points in each column.

Column 1

Column 2

Column 3

Column 4

Column 5

3(a)

____

2(a)

____

1(a)

____

1(b)

____

2(b)

____

6(b)

____

4(a)

____

5(b)

____

3(b)

____

5(a)

____

8(a)

____

7(b)

____

6(a)

____

4(b)

____

8(b)

____

9(b)

____

10(b)

____

7(a)

____

11(b)

____

11(a)

____

10(a)

____

12(b)

____

9(a)

____

15(a)

____

14(a)

____

13(b)

____

13(a)

____

12(a)

____

16(a)

____

19(a)

____

14(b)

____

18(b)

____

15(b)

____

18(a)

____

20(a)

____

16(b)

____

20(b)

____

17(b)

____

21(a)

____

21(b)

____

17(a)

____

22(a)

____

19(b)

____

24(a)

____

23(a)

____

22(b)

____

24(b)

____

23(b)

____

25(b)

____

26(b)

____

25(a)

____

26(a)

____

27(a)

____

27(b)

____

28(b)

____

28(a)

____

29(a)

____

29(b)

____

30(a)

____

30(b)

____

Total

____

Total

____

Total

____

Total

____

Total

____

Next, carry over the totals from the column totals and then plot your total scores on the following chart to show the profile of your conflict-handling styles. A total score of 36 to 45 for each style, such as the forcing style in column 1, may indicate a strong preference and use of that style. A total score of 0 to 18 for each style, such as the compromising style in column 2, may indicate little preference and use of that style. A total score of 19 to 35 for each style may indicate a moderate preference and use of that style.

Total

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

Column 1
(Forcing)

____

Column 2
(Compromising)

____

Column 3
(Avoiding)

____

Column 4
(Accommodating)

____

Column 5
(Collaborating)

____

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

Interpretation

The different conflict-handling styles can all be effective, dependent upon the situation. As they all incorporate degrees of concern for self versus concern for others, you can imagine the results when you exclusively use styles that only focus on you or the other party. Collaborating is the only style with a high concern for self and for others.

From Organizational Behavior by Hellriegel, Slocum, Woodman, and Bruning.  Reprinted with permission of ITP Nelson.

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June 30, 2009 - Posted by | Education | ,

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