Conflict Management Styles

>Consider a conflict situation you witnessed or were engaged in within your practice
>Think about who was involved, how it was resolved (if it was), and how it might have
been handled more effectively.
>Identify the conflict management style(s) employed by various individuals, including
ineffective responses or no response to the situation.
>Evaluate your personal response to this conflict.
>What do your thoughts and actions in this and other conflict situations reveal about
your typical approach to conflict?
>Write a description of how you handled or avoided a conflict, as well as the results of
your approach. Explain how would you respond to this conflict today and/or what steps
you would take to improve your comfort level and skill for managing conflict in the
future (including specific conflict management strategies you would use). Explain how
conflict management relates to your effectiveness as a leader.

Conflict Management Styles

One conflict situation emerged in a health care organization where nurses routinely
kept medical items under lock only when the shifts ended and not during shifts and change of
shifts. One time Christine, a nurse locked up the items during Mary’s shift and she responded
in retaliation. Christine had not communicated to Mary that there had been a change of
routine for items to be locked when not in use. This information had been communicated
after an inspection but Mary was not aware of the changes. Mary began reporting late for
work when she knew she was reporting from Christine. She would also be exceedingly slow
when verifying the items in the lock. This would irritate Christine because it further delayed
her since she could only exit her shift after Mary verified the number of items under lock.
When Christine realized that there had been a change in Mary’s attitude towards her, she
confronted her. Mary explained her reasons for the change and Christine explained her
motivation for locking the items before they resolved the conflict.
In this conflict, Mary employed a competitive approach of responding to conflict at
the onset to get back at Christine. When Christine noticed a change in Mary’s attitude, she
employed a collaboration style where they both discussed their motivation and reached an
amicable mutually accepted solution (Kelly, 2006). Another inefficient form of conflict

Conflict Management Styles 2
management includes avoidance. This method does not resolve conflicts because it lets the
issue rest without any address. Other effective forms include accommodation and
compromise, which allow others to have their way especially on decisions of great
importance, and where the different parties agree or disagree especially when they must take
a stand on urgent issues respectively.
My thoughts and actions in this conflict indicate that my typical approach to conflict
is to face the offender and to state my discomfort about the situation. This is characteristic of
a collaborative approach, which seeks to get others’ view on the situation and establish a
common ground between the parties involved. This results in a mutual agreement to the
conflict at hand. In some instances, where I avoided a conflict, it resulted in the deepening of
the gap between me and the offender. Avoiding a conflict does not solve a conflict but
instead, it aggravates it to a higher level and makes it more difficult to solve. I realized that
instead of avoidance; facing the parties involved as soon as the conflict surfaces results in
better conflict management. This is because they understand the reasons behind my
discomfort, and sets a precedent for solving future conflicts. Conflict management is very
important for a leader particularly because people always conflict with one another because
they have differing opinions. It is fundamental for a leader to understand the most effective
strategies for addressing conflicts of different nature (Kelly, 2006).

Conflict Management Styles 3


Kelly, J. (2006). An Overview of Conflict. Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing, 25(1), 22-

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