The Conflict Profile (CPW) instrument helps you gain insight into your learned skills in dealing with conflict. This instrument identifies your preferred and supporting methods for addressing conflict. It’s interesting to observe that many successful leaders approach conflict in a variety of ways depending on the situation and so must we.
There are five constructs, or areas assessed, by this instrument. While it’s fairly intuitive to look at the labels, it’s important to understand you are not locked into one or the other. Let’s take a look at each, then talk a bit about some scenarios.
Winning is competing and uncooperative. You believe you have the right answer and you must prove you are right whatever it takes. This may be standing up for your own rights, beliefs or position.
Avoiding is not pursuing your own rights or those of the other person. You do not address the conflict. This may be diplomatically sidestepping an issue or avoiding a threatening situation.
Yielding is neglecting your own interests and giving in to those of the other person. This is self-sacrifice and maybe charity, serving or choosing to obey another when you prefer not to.
Compromising is finding a middle ground in the conflict. This often involves meeting in the middle or finding some mutually agreeable point between both positions and is useful for quick solutions.
Resolving is attempting to work with the other person in depth to find the best solution regardless of where it may lie on the continuum. This involves digging beneath the presenting issue to find a way out that benefits both parties.
When dealing with conflict, there isn’t always one answer or one right way to solve the problem. All five of these modes are appropriate at different times. The challenge is to know first which approach is appropriate at what times, and second, to know how to use each approach.
For most of us, we feel comfortable using one approach or another most of the time and it was the one we grew up learning to use to cope in our family and environment. This can be unhealthy in a relationship with others when we truly want the best solution. Using one predominant conflict mode would be like having only one emotion. We need many emotions to express the fullness of life. The same is true of handling conflict.
Everyone is capable of using all five modes of conflict resolution, however, it will take an effort to develop approaches to which you are not currently predisposed. More effort will be required for the Resolving Mode because it highly values the relationship and the best solution. Because of this, it requires digging deep into the issues at hand from the perspective of all parties. An excellent resource on how to develop this mode is the book entitled: Crucial Conversations, by Patterson, Grenny, McMilan, and Switzler.
It is most helpful to discuss your scores with someone who understands both you and this assessment. Remember, In the future, the way you approach conflict should be dictated by the situation, not just how you are used to dealing with conflict. In doing so, everyone benefits, including you.