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Publication #FCS9065

IFAS Leadership Development: Managing Conflict Creatively 1

Elizabeth B. Bolton2

Recommendations for Leader Training

• Prepare to teach this lesson by reading and familiarizing yourself with the objectives, materials, handouts and exercises.

  • Begin preparation several days in advance in order to secure whatever additional resources you need to make the lesson a "local" learning experience.

  • Plan a learning environment with care so that the surroundings contribute to the achievement of the objectives.

  • Begin on time, and end on time. Schedule a break at about halfway through the lesson.

  • With each lesson after the first one, ask participants what they did as a result of the previous lesson. Record these!

  • Introduce each lesson with an overview of how it fits into the overall major leadership development program.

  • End each lesson with a summary and restatement of objectives. Explain what the participants are expected to do with the lesson after they leave.

  • Heighten anticipation for the next lesson by sharing a brief description of it, but be cautious not to give too much away.

The IFAS Leadership Development Packet of eleven modules was developed for use by Florida Cooperative Extension agents. They were designed for training agents and officers, and not for general distribution to the public. Handouts for audience use are labeled and printed on white paper. These may be duplicated for use during class.

Each lesson is designed for a workshop approximately two hours long. Use your judgement on shortening or expanding various parts according to the needs of your participants.

Objectives

  1. To understand conflict and its patterns

  2. To identify methods for handling conflict

  3. To become familiar with techniques for creatively managing conflict situations

Lesson Outline

Introduction and overview of objectives (10 minutes)

What is Conflict?

Group exercise and lecture (20 minutes)

The Conflict Cycle

Conflict Resolution Activity

Group exercise and lecture (30 minutes)

Conflict Management Style Survey

Which Method Do You Use to Handle Conflict?

Benefits of Self-analysis and Learning

Break (5 minutes)

Application of concepts (40 minutes)

The I Message

Role Reversal

Conflict Management

Summary and Evaluation (15 minutes)

    • Conflict in Perspective

Total time 2 hours

Lesson Plan -- Managing Conflict Creatively

Step 1 -- 10 minutes

Use What is Conflict? as background for introductory lecture. Emphasize the characteristics of conflict. Write bolded words on chalkboard for emphasis.

Review the objectives of this lesson. Write them on the chalkboard.

Step 2 -- 20 minutes

Discuss each part of The Conflict Cycle. Use diagram as overhead or visual display.

Select one of the letter examples from Conflict Resolution Activity. Make copies to hand out to group members. Have the group break into small groups of four or five people. Give each small group a copy and have them identify the conflict cycle that is described. They don't have to solve the problem. They should identify who is having the conflict and what stage the conflict is in. Give them a short time to discuss it in the small group and then have each group give a report to the whole group. Discuss if there is agreement among the small groups on the analysis of the cycle. Use other hypothetical situations also. Be sure to steer clear of situations that can be identified as local.

Step 3 -- 30 minutes

Hand out the Conflict Management Style Survey. Follow instructions. Let everyone know that it is for personal use and need not be shared. After everyone has filled out the form, have them score it individually. (See Table 1 for survey and Table 2 for the scoring sheet.)

Review the four categories on the score sheet using Which Method Do You Use to Manage Conflict.

Remind people that they don't have to share their answers or scores, but general discussion concerning the methods used in dealing with conflict is helpful to everyone. Use open-ended questions to promote discussion of insights, self-perception, or increased awareness, i.e.:

• What did you find out about yourself when you filled out this survey?

  • What did you like/dislike about taking the survey?

  • Did your scores reflect how you think you handle conflict or were they different?

  • What were some examples of where you thought about doing one thing but did something else? What was the outcome?

Explain Benefits of Self-analysis and Learning.

Step 4 -- 40 minutes

There are many approaches to handling conflict. This lesson includes only three. All of them are techniques for better communication. The skills taught in the exercises The I Message, Role Reversal and Conflict Negotiation are helpful in those conflict situations where the blocking difficulties can be removed through clarity, understanding, and mutual goodwill. Clashes which are caused by value conflicts, incompatible goals, or other hard-to-resolve differences may require more complex tools, longer negotiations, and possibly a third party.

Select one of the exercises listed above. Each sheet gives specific instructions for carrying out the exercise. Teach the group the basic concepts and information provided on the sheet.

Then choose one of the letters at the end of module and apply the technique in a role play situation. This can be done by a group of pre-selected members or volunteers from the group.

Then repeat the process by teaching another technique followed by another exercise based on the same role play or a new one from another letter. Allow 10 to 15 minutes for each exercise and use one or all three as time and interest permit.

Instead of using one of the letters to set the stage for the role play, have one of the members describe a current neighborhood/community issue and apply the teaching in a role playing situation based on that issue.

Step 5 -- 15 minutes

Refer to summary remarks on Conflict in Perspective.

Restate objectives. Ask for comments.

Evaluate and adjourn.

What is Conflict?

What comes to mind when you think of the word "conflict?" Conflict is a part of life. One of the reasons people feel that conflict is bad is their belief that harmony is normal and conflict is to be avoided. They fear the confrontation inherent in conflict and because they associate conflict with anger, they consider it destructive. But conflict is normal and happens continually.

A conflict issue can be large or small, interpersonal or between community groups. It can be a situation as simple as a parent wanting a pre-schooler to eat a food the child doesn't want, or as complex as two countries claiming the same territory. Whether conflict is large or small, it has certain characteristics.

• There has to be at least two parties -- two or more people, two groups, two countries, person and a group, or a country and a group.

  • There has to be some kind of a struggle or threat, either real or suspected.

  • There must be some interaction or interference.

  • The transaction can be emotional.

Each person has ways of resolving conflict. How he or she reacts in situations when differing wills clash is learned behavior. Many of these reactions are patterns learned as children. The people around an individual model behavior that can either be used or rejected. Everyone was brought up differently, therefore styles of solving conflicts are different. Those methods of dealing with conflicts may carry over into the way one deals with community conflicts.

Everyone develops a sense of their position in a conflict. Early, they learn to stand firm, avoid confrontation, or try to settle the conflict between the two parties. Ideals are held dear. They are real and important. Other people may look at these ideals as fantasy or useless, but individuals fight to prove their worth.

Ideal images of oneself and the surrounding people exist. How should the ideal mother, father, child, partner, or friend act? What should the family or group be accomplishing? What should the city or country be doing? How does the individual handle the difference between the ideal and what is happening?

How people deal with conflict reflects the values they hold. Does one believe the roles of men and women differ? What emotions can be shown or must be hidden? What territory should be defended? Is there an investment for "being right?"

Stress and conflict interact. Stress can cause conflict, and it can increase it. The stress of a personal crisis, such as unemployment or a threat to personal safety, makes the situation more emotional. A reaction is tied to a personal pattern for handling conflict. A person anticipates the situation and has his or her forces ready. It does not have to be a major crisis. Even everyday stresses can cause or increase conflict.

Adapted from Managing Conflict Creatively, Family Community Leadership Project.

The Conflict Cycle

Tension Development -- As the disagreement or threat begins to develop, the various parties start taking sides. The conflict can appear immediately or over time.

Role Dilemma -- People or groups who are involved raise questions about what is happening, who is right, what should be done. They try to decide if they should take sides, and, if so, which one. (Tension development and role dilemma often occur at the same time.)

Injustice Collecting -- Each party begins to gather support. Each one categorizes the problems, justifies their position, and thinks of revenge or ways to win.

Confrontation -- The parties meet head on and clash. If both parties hold fast to their side, the showdown may cause permanent barriers. Confrontation may be lessened or avoided by one or both parties making adjustments.

Adjustments -- If one party is weak and the other is strong, the strong party can win by domination, but the conflict may reappear. If parties have equal power, and neither party decides to change, they can wage a cold war, each party trying to weaken the other. The two parties may choose to compromise, each gaining a little and losing a little. The two parties can collaborate in an active participation which looks for a solution that takes care of both parties' needs.

In our society only compromise or collaboration resolves the conflict over time. Other adjustments are, at best, short-term solutions. If domination, cold war, or isolation is chosen, the conflict cycle can be ongoing. See Figure 1 for a diagram of the conflict cycle.

Figure 1. 

Adapted from Managing Conflict Creatively, Family Community Leadership Project.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Adapted from Managing Conflict Creatively, Family Community Leadership Project.

Conflict Resolution Activity

Community Problem Letters

Street Improvement

Dear Neighbors,

Have you noticed the wear and tear on all our cars? We know that the little bit of grading on our street isn't enough to take care of the chuckholes and mud puddles.

In the past, we have tried to form an improvement district for our streets, but people have opposed it because of the cost.

Now there are revenue-sharing funds available to help with half the cost. We have to agree to give up some of our front yards, though. Between three to six feet would be needed to widen the street and put in sidewalks.

Some people have been opposed because they'd have to move fences, cut down trees, and shorten driveways. A few are concerned about property values. Other people favor the idea because it will improve the neighborhood, give us sidewalks, and be partially paid for with federal money.

I would like to invite you to a meeting next Monday to talk about this.

Unruly Dog

Dear Neighbors,

Have you been bothered by that noisy dog in our neighborhood? I've been losing sleep! I work at night and must sleep in the daytime.

The young couple next door moved in with a setter that barks and drags his chain back and forth. He even gets loose sometimes and tears up neighborhood gardens.

I have called the dog patrol several times, but they can't do anything. When they have checked, the dog was tied up. They are only responsible for stray or loose dogs. I also checked the noise ordinance and it is too vague in this case.

When I have tried to talk to the young couple about the problem, they think I am giving them a bad time. They say they can do anything on their own property. They are at work all day, so they really do not know about the trouble the dog is causing.

I think this is more than just my problem. I know a couple of you are angry about the dog running through your gardens, and someone else is mad about the "fertilizer" in the yard. I also understand a 4-Her's young rabbits were killed when the dog ran through her yard. Also, Sam's chickens have been bothered.

Let's get together about this next Monday night. I would like to solve this problem.

Crowded Classrooms

Dear Parent,

Have you seen how crowded the first and second grade classrooms are at Lincoln School? A lot of parents think the children are not getting as much individual attention as needed in the first years of school. They say all children will learn better, especially slow learners and those with learning disabilities, if more teachers are hired and classrooms are acquired. As it is now, teachers are busy keeping order, instead of having more time to teach students.

Some parents think that changing the student/teacher ratio by hiring more teachers and needing more classrooms means more costs and higher taxes.

Please come to the Lincoln School PTA meeting next Monday to discuss this.

Snack Foods

Dear Parent,

Have you heard that the school board is going to make a decision about the kind of snack foods the vending machines in our elementary schools will sell? Because some parents have complained about the candy in the vending machines at Union Elementary School, the Board has removed the machines from all the schools in our district.

A policy for the sale of snacks on school property is probably a good way to settle this. But some parents are upset. They think their children will leave the school to walk to the convenience store, and that means they will be crossing busy streets. They worry also about children being late for class because of the electronic games at the store.

Other parents do not want snacks to be so readily available because children have been using their lunch money to buy candy. If snacks are sold at the school, they should at least be nutritious food, they say.

Let's get together and talk about this at next Monday's PTA meeting.

Which Method Do You Use to Manage Conflict?

Most people use a variety of methods for handling conflict. They may feel more at ease with some than others.

Aggressive/Confrontal. This is a method which uses direct tactics. There is a strong need to control situations and/or people. The style is directive and judgmental. The idea is to straighten out the other person, to argue about who is right, and to be ready to defend ideas forcibly.

Assertive/Persuasive. This position describes a readiness to defend a stand without being pushy. The willingness to work toward a solution through negotiation is the characteristic attitude. Verbal skills are used to bring the other party around.

Observant/Introspective. A process of observing others and examining oneself analytically in response to conflict situations is typical. Other behaviors commonly include a striving to understand and listen, and to put oneself in the other person's place. The mood is cooperative, even conciliatory.

Avoiding/Reactive. To be passive and withdrawing from conflict situations is the customary manner. A person using this method is usually accepting and patient, often suppressing strong feelings to avoid confrontation.

None of these methods is always right or always wrong. Methods 2 and 3 above are often most productive.

Aggressive behavior usually victimizes others and tends to make people uncooperative. Avoidance behavior usually victimizes one's self and tends to make it difficult for others to know there is a problem.

Adapted from Managing Conflict Creatively, Family Community Leadership Project.

Benefits of Self-Analysis and Learning

Discovering the habits used when reacting to conflict situations gives information about how others are affected. Once the usual style is known, a judgment as to whether it is useful or if another method might be more appropriate can be decided. Learning new methods for resolving conflict provides a way to choose the style best suited to each situation. After testing a variety of techniques, behavior can be changed to become more selective and effective. The changes made in the behavior patterns will frequently produce corresponding changes in the responses of others.

Discussion Questions

• If you recognize the way you react in a conflict situation, you can ask yourself the question -- Is that the way I want to respond?

  • If you know there are other ways that might be better in solving the situation, will you be motivated to change?

  • You can change your behavior only. But if you change the way you act, does it affect the way others react to you?

The I Message

Most of the messages sent to people about their behavior are "you" messages, or messages that are directed at the other person and have a high probability of putting them down, making them feel guilty, making them feel their needs are not important, and generally making them resist change. "You" messages are usually orders or commands ("Stop doing that! Get into the car!"), or blaming or name-calling statements ("You are acting like a baby! You are driving me crazy!"), or statements that give solutions ("You should forget that idea. You better reconsider that plan."). Therefore, placing the responsibility for behavior change on the other person. Perhaps the worst of all "you" messages is the if...then threat ("If you don't...then I will...").

An "I" message, on the other hand, allows a person who is affected by the behavior of another to express the impact it has on him or her and at the same time leave the responsibility for modifying the behavior with the person who demonstrated the behavior. An "I" message consists of three parts:

• the specific behavior,

  • the feeling experienced because of the behavior, and

  • the tangible effect on the person affected by the behavior.

Thus, a teacher might say to a student:

"When you tap on your desk with your pencil, I feel upset because I get distracted and have difficulty teaching."

A wife might say to her husband:

"When I try to help you and you don't say anything, I feel confused because I don't know how you feel about my help."

In effect, the "I" message allows the sender to implicitly say, "I trust you to decide what change in behavior is necessary." In this manner, "I" messages build relationships, but equally importantly, they do not place the sender in the position of enforcing new behavior, as is frequently the case with the "you" message discussed above.

In order to understand and use the "I" message effectively, people should be given a chance to practice. Below are listed a few statements you might like to use. A guide that some have found helpful in formulating an "I" message is:

When you (behavior), I feel (feelings) because (reason).

Fill in the blanks by practicing with these examples:

  • Your daughter or son consistently leaves his or her room in shambles.

  • Your husband/wife/roommate refuses to share the household chores.

  • A neighbor has borrowed a lawnmower and has failed to return it.

  • A close friend has listened to you explain a difficult problem that you are currently facing.

  • An aunt keeps telling you that you are raising your children all wrong.

  • Your son or daughter keeps putting off household chores.

  • Your husband/wife/mother/father doesn't seem interested in helping you with an important project.

  • You are making your third call to the telephone company in a week concerning an extension phone they agreed to install one month ago.

  • Your best friend told someone else something that you told her or him in confidence.

• You take your car back to a mechanic for the third time -- because it still is not fixed.

  • You and a friend are organizing a party. The friend does not do his or her agreed upon task.

  • Your aunt keeps telling you how to do something you already know how to do.

Role Reversal

Number of people: Even number of participants all in pairs or one pair in front of group

Minimum time: 10 minutes

Materials: Role play situation

Setting: Informal relaxed atmosphere

Purpose

To help the person in one position understand the feelings of the other person, especially those of different ages, heights, power roles, or sexes.

Process

Set up a situation involving two sides.

Have two people role play the situation. This can be done with two people in front of the group, or all participants role playing in pairs at the same time.

Let them role play the situation for a couple of minutes, then call a "freeze" and have them change roles. It is sometimes helpful to have the people actually change sides physically.

Then have them discuss their reactions to being on both sides of the conflict.

This is particularly valuable for examining a critical incident that occurs repeatedly or is expected to occur. It helps develop a definition of acceptable behavior. It was used with the Buffalo, New York police in examining typical dangerous street incidents. It is also useful for solving problems in families where members feel they are not understood. When using role play, it is helpful to have a close approximation of size and power, such as the child standing on a chair or the adult kneeling when playing the opposite role. It's a way of putting yourself in another person's shoes.

Role Play Example

The tenant in a home you own reported to you that the heater seemed to be going out and said he had been cold the night before. You agree to check it, but find it is apparently working fine. When the tenant returns home from work around midnight, he again finds the heat not working and the house very cold. He assumes you either did not check it or did not bother to have it repaired. He comes to your house, banging on the door and yelling for you to open up. You know that he has become violent in the past when angry or drunk, and it is obvious now that he is very angry. You know he deserves an explanation.

Adapted from Resource Manual for a Living Revolution by Coover, Deacon, Esser, and Moore, New Society Press, 1977.

Conflict Negotiation

Number of people: 2 (3 if third party facilitator used)

Minimum time: depends on degree of conflict

Materials: chairs

Setting: informal relaxed atmosphere, neutral to each individual

Purpose

This exercise is designed to help two individuals resolve a particular disagreement or conflict. In order for this exercise to work both individuals must wish to have some sort of resolution to the situation.

Process

  1. Person A completes a sequence of four statements from his or her point of view.

  2. Description of the current situation, i.e., "The conflict I'm having with you is..." "The problem as I see it is..."

  3. Description of the ideal situation, i.e., "What I'd like to see is..."

  4. Description of current feelings, i.e., "The way I feel about this situation is..."

  5. Description of self-intention, i.e., "What I'm willing to do to create what I want is..."

  6. Person B then paraphrases what Person A has said. If the paraphrase is accepted as accurate by Person A, Person B then moves through the same sequence of statements and Person A paraphrases.

  7. Person A then asks, "Do we have a resolution?" If the answer is "no," Person A begins the sequence again. If the answer is "yes" both parties review their agreements.

NOTE: It may be helpful to have a third person present to facilitate the statement sequence and paraphrasing process.

Alternate Procedure

This exercise may be modified for use with groups by having a representative engage in the experience and seek confirmation from the people they represent as to whether the conflict is resolved.

Discussion Questions

• What did you learn from this exercise?

  • What (or who) helped most in resolving this conflict?

  • Will you use this exercise in future conflict situations?

Adapted from Managing Conflict Creatively, Family Community Leadership Project.

Conflict in Perspective

While conflict may seem negative, it is actually a natural event in relationships between people. It can become a liability if it remains unresolved.

Depending on how they are handled, conflicts may have negative or positive consequences. Compare the possible results of unsuccessful and successful (creative) conflict resolution.

Results of Conflict Resolution

Unsuccessful

• People feel defeated and humiliated.

• The distance between the parties increases.

• A climate of distrust develops.

• Cooperation may decrease.

• Resistance develops when teamwork is needed.

• Some people leave because of the turmoil.

Successful

  • Better ideas are produced.

• People are forced to search for new approaches.

• Long-standing problems surface and are addressed.

• People are forced to clarify their views.

• Tension stimulates interest and creativity.

• People have a chance to test their capabilities.

• In itself, conflict is neither good nor bad. It is what is done with it that makes the difference.

• More effectiveness can be achieved in conflict situations by consciously selecting behavior, instead of merely reacting based on habitual, unexamined patterns. To prepare for managing conflict creatively, one needs to become aware of the methods chosen when dealing with conflict situations, and then learn new ways of handling them.

Adapted from Managing Conflict Creatively, Family Community Leadership Project.

Tables

Table 1. 

CONFLICT MANAGEMENT STYLE SURVEY

Instructions

Choose a single frame of reference and keep it in mind as you answer the questions. Select a real community issue you have been involved in, such as school financing, street improvement, conflicts between livestock and stray dogs, etc. Allocate 10 points among the four alternative answers given for each of the fifteen items below.

Example

When the people I supervise become involved in a personal conflict, I usually:

3

A. Intervene to settle the dispute.

6

B. Call a meeting to talk over the problem.

1

C. Offer help if I can.

0

D. Ignore the problem.

Be certain that your answers add up to 10.

1. When someone I care about is actively hostile toward me (yelling, threatening, abusive), I tend to:

 

A. Respond in a hostile manner.

 

B. Try to persuade the person to give up his/her actively hostile behavior.

 

C. Stay and listen as long as possible.

 

D. Walk away.

2. When someone who is relatively unimportant to me is actively hostile toward me (yelling, threatening, or abusive), I tend to:

 

A. Respond in a hostile manner.

 

B. Try to persuade the person to give up his or her actively hostile behavior.

 

C. Stay and listen as long as possible.

 

D. Walk away.

3. When I observe people in conflicts where anger, threats, hostility and strong opinions are present, I tend to:

 

A. Become involved and take a position.

 

B. Attempt to mediate.

 

C. Observe to see what happens.

 

D. Leave as quickly as possible.

4. When I observe another person meeting his or her needs at my expense, I am apt to:

 

A. Work to do anything I can to change that person.

 

B. Rely on persuasion and “facts” when attempting to have that person change.

 

C. Work hard at changing how I relate to that person.

 

D. Accept the situation as it is.

5. When involved in an interpersonal dispute, my general pattern is to:

 

A. Persuade the other person to see the problem as I do.

 

B. Examine the issues between us as logically as possible.

 

C. Look hard for a workable compromise.

 

D. Let time take its course and let the problem work itself out.

6. The quality that I value the most in dealing with conflict would be:

 

A. Emotional strength and security.

 

B. Intelligence.

 

C. Love and openness.

 

D. Patience.

7. Following a serious altercation with someone I care for deeply, I:

 

A. Strongly desire to go back and settle things my way.

 

B. Want to go back and work it out, whatever give-and-take is necessary.

 

C. Worry about it a lot but do not plan to initiate further contact.

 

D. Let it lie and do not plan further contact.

8. When I see serious conflict developing between two people I care about, I tend to:

 

A. Express my disappointment that this had to happen.

 

B. Attempt to persuade them to resolve their differences.

 

C. Watch to see what develops.

 

D. Leave the scene.

9. When I see serious conflict developing between two people who are relatively unimportant to me, I tend to:

 

A. Express my disappointment that this had to happen.

 

B. Attempt to persuade them to resolve their differences.

 

C. Watch to see what develops.

 

D. Leave the scene.

10. The feedback that I receive from most people about how I behave when faced with conflict and opposition indicates that I:

 

A. Try hard to get my way.

 

B. Try to work out differences cooperatively.

 

C. Am easy-going and take a soft or conciliatory position.

 

D. Usually avoid the conflict.

11. When communicating with someone with whom I am having a serious conflict, I:

 

A. Try to overcome the other person with my speech.

 

B. Talk a little bit more than I listen.

 

C. Am an active listener (feeding back words and feelings).

 

D. Am a passive listener (agreeing and apologizing).

12. When involved in an unpleasant conflict, I:

 

A. Use humor with the other party.

 

B. Make an occasional quip or joke about the situation or the relationship.

 

C. Relate humor only to myself.

 

D. Suppress all attempts at humor.

13. When someone does something that irritates me (smokes in a nonsmoking area or crowds in front of me in line), my tendency in communicating with the offending person is to:

 

A. Insist that the person look me in the eye.

 

B. Look the person directly in the eye and maintain eye contact.

 

C. Maintain intermittent eye contact.

 

D. Avoid looking directly at the person.

14. When someone does something that irritates me (smokes in a nonsmoking area or crowds in front of me in line), my tendency in communicating with the offending person is to:

 

A. Stand close and make physical contact.

 

B. Use my hands and body to illustrate my point.

 

C. Stand close to the person without touching him or her.

 

D. Stand back and keep my hands to myself.

15. When someone does something that irritates me (smokes in a nonsmoking area or crowds in front of me in line), my tendency in communicating with the offending person is to:

 

A. Use strong, direct language and tell the person to stop.

 

B. Try to persuade the person to stop.

 

C. Talk gently and tell the person what my feelings are.

 

D. Say and do nothing.

Source: The 1982 Annual for Facilitators, Trainers and Consultants by J.W. Pfeiffer and L.W. Goodstein, University Associates, Inc.

Table 2. 

Conflict Management Style Survey -- Scoring Sheet

Instructions: When you have completed all fifteen items, add your scores for category A, B, C and D answers, resulting in four totals. Put these in the boxes below. Then by using the total scores in each category, fill in the bar graph below.

Totals:

       

Total Points

A

B

C

D

150

 

125

 

100

 

75

 

50

 

25

 

0

 

Category A. Aggressive/Confrontal: High scores indicate a tendency toward “taking the bull by the horns” and a strong need to control situations and/or people. Those who use this style are often directive and judgmental.

Category B. Assertive/Persuasive: High scores indicate a tendency to stand up for oneself without being pushy, a pro-active approach to conflict, and a willingness to collaborate. People who use this style depend heavily on their verbal skills.

Category C. Observant/Introspective: High scores indicate a tendency to observe others and examine oneself analytically in response to conflict situations as well as a need to adopt counseling and listening modes of behavior. Those who use this style are likely to be cooperative, even conciliatory.

Category D. Avoiding/Reactive: High scores indicate a tendency toward passivity or withdrawal in conflict situations, and a need to avoid confrontations. Those who use this style are usually accepting and patient, often suppressing their strong feelings.

Now total your scores for Categories A and B and Categories C and D.

Category A + Category B =

   

Category C + Category D =

   

If Score 1 is significantly higher than Score 2 (25 points or more), it may indicate a tendency toward aggressive/assertive conflict management. A significantly higher Score 2 signals a more conciliatory approach.

Source: The 1982 Annual for Facilitators, Trainers and Consultants by J.W. Pfeiffer and L.W. Goodstein, University Associates, Inc.

Footnotes

1.

This document is FCS9065, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date September 1986. Revised January 2009. Reviewed January 2012. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Elizabeth B. Bolton, professor, Community Development, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.