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Conflict management style

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Someone's conflict management style is the way they respond to conflict with others. Everyone develops certain patterns of responding to differences that they use over and over again. This is their own unique conflict management style.

The field of conflict management, conflict resolution, or conflict transformation (there's no agreement on what to name this field!) has since the 1970s sought to teach people to be more conscious of their conflict management style. The idea is that if people are conscious of their style, they can make better choices of how to respond. If someone knows they have a tendency to avoid, for example, they might choose a different and perhaps more appropriate response.

The most widely used tool for this is a conflict style inventory, typically a short questionnaire filled out by a user, with interpretation of the scores given in writing or by a trainer. The point is not to categorize the user, but rather to give him or her a framework to assess their responses and options.

Conflict style inventories in wide use today include: The Thomas Kilmann, ranging in price from $10-16. Style Matters: The Kraybill Conflict Style Inventory, ranging in price from $4-6.

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