Throughout life’s numerous experiences, I have come in contact with a number of individuals who fit the domineering profile of each conflict management style. My wife and I suitably fit the bill on a number of these styles when interacting with one another. Inside of each encounter we have with each other, we utilize a number of tactics which help to resolve the issue without losing valuable respect for each other. In this intriguing investigation, there will be an assessment of certain conflict management skills that I am lacking and should be utilizing more often, along with the advantages of making this conversion.
Also, there will be an analysis of certain skills I am currently employing that should be used less frequently to assist in neutralizing certain types of conflict that can produce undesirable outcomes. With each elemental conflict management skill identified, there will be evaluation along with how each skill is addressed appropriately. Now that each piece of the puzzle is presented, let us begin by clarifying which conflict management skills should be put into play. The main element I am inclined to stay away from is the avoidance style.
My wife and I went through a steady stream of premarital counseling sessions which taught us a very important lesson about conflict. If we avoid a conflict, we are destined to lead lives filled with unresolved issues which are never addressed and concealed emotions that are never released. I often “stick my foot in my mouth” when I respond to every given situation that surfaces with both my wife and my mother-in-law. My wife understands that my personality has the propensity to react a certain way, which in turn can affect her and her mother’s emotional state.
I was raised in a family where I continually had to be on the defense when a conflict emerged. Fortunately that line of defense has not worked in our relationship. The advantage of employing the avoidance style is that I am permitted “some time to think” about how I am going to respond like Hocker, Wilmot, & Wilmot, (2014) mentioned in their textbook titled “Interpersonal Conflict” (p. 152). If I am given ample time to respond to the situation, I can reply in a benevolent manner instead of retorting with an abrupt response.
A good portion of our discussions and arguments are “trivial” and do not have lasting consequences on our outlook on life together (Hocker et al. , 2014, p. 152). Continuing forward now, let’s explore certain styles that are overused in my repertoire of conflict response styles. Accommodation (obliging) style is one of the areas that I tend to overuse in our relationship. I have reverted to this style on a number of occasions to help preserve the harmony in our relationship. Just a few short years ago, I was single and only had to consider my own needs. Now I am married with a larger plate of necessary needs that must be met.
As a Christian, I am prompted to live an altruistic life that is filled with self-less acts of kindness and thoughtfulness. However, there are times when I “grudgingly and bitterly” agree to go to bed since my wife said she was tired (Hocker et al. , 2014, p. 163). I find myself laying there in bed wondering why I agreed to go to sleep before I was tired. I believe that there are times to be accommodating when the situation calls for reasonableness, but there are also times when I need to utilize the compromising method. I realize that if go to bed earlier, I may be avoiding a trivial conflict which ends in hurt feelings.
However, if I allow this style to surface too frequently, I may prove to my wife that there is power imbalances in our relationship according to Hocker et al. (2014), which can have send a message to her that says, “I have no choice” in the situation p. 164). The second style that I should be using less often is the competitive style. I have only needed to use my assertive personality with her on a few occasions before we exchanged our vows before God. We had a difference of opinion which eventually elevated to a disagreement which sent her driving down the road towards her parent’s house three hours south of Colorado Springs.
I decided to go on a drive to give myself some space from the conflict, which I now realize I was stonewalling her by leaving. Soon after I had left her house, she gave me a call letting me know that she was driving to her parent’s house since I had left her in the household upset about what had transpired. The way I responded stopped her before she made a monumental mistake a month before our wedding. Hocker et al. (2014) suggests that this tactic is useful when a person needs to make a split second decision, which is indeed how I had to respond (p. 156).
There have been a number of other situations where I have needed to use aggressive tactics in emergency situations, and there are a number of situations where I didn’t need to use this competitive form. The situations where I should have drawn more towards the collaborative state of mind, I rendered judgment upon her which had devastating effects on her future career outlook, along with her noble intentions to clean her car without soap and then dry the car with all particulates still stuck on the car’s paint. In summation, I need be sure that I keep my competitive and domineering styles under control, particularly when they aren’t necessary.
The only reason why I would need to use this assertive tactic is if there is a crisis where I must neutralize the situation where my wife may cause harm to herself or others around her at home or in a car. When emotions are heightened and the content is low, informed decision making deteriorates (J. Cassa, lecture, January 19, 2017). The third and final conflict style that I should learn to moderate the use of is the compromising style. This is a style that I utilize quite often when I am working with my wife on a problem that is in need of a resolution. According to Hocker et al. 2014), a collaborative style is where both parties do not part ways until there has been a joint decision made between the two individuals (p. 165).
When my wife and I are using our collaborative skills, we usually come to a joint understanding which allows for both of us to get our visions out into the open and figure out a solution which merges our ideas and views together. I realize that making shared decisions is a good practice that enhances our communication skills, but there are times when I should be making independent decisions which impact our futures.
God placed man as head of the household just like Jesus is the head of the Church. Since God created man to be the head of the wife, I am instructed to lead the family under God’s instruction and direction. If God’s commands and decrees are not followed or are being avoided, it is up to me to respond without using the collaborative approach. Recently, my wife and I encountered a scenario where the collaborative approach would not have been appropriate. In my household, I don’t allow distasteful language, because our household is a Christian household.
My wife decided to use a milder form of a vulgar word, and I let her know that we do not use this type of language in our family or in this household. Assertively instead of collaboratively, I allowed her to see the boundary for which she was crossing. If I were to effectively use the collaborative style, I would initiate a conversation with my wife which requires a joint resolution that ends in a collective outcome In closing this conflict management paper, there have been a number of styles addressed which has given me the opportunity to analyze a number of situations where I have used all of the conflict management styles.
I have learned that there is a time and place for each style, and if they are properly used, they can prove to be a beneficial part of managing and resolving a variety of conflict in our future. The topics comprised in this paper included an assessment of certain conflict management skills that I am lacking in and should be utilizing more often, along with the advantages of making the conversion. Also, there was an analysis of certain skills I am currently employing that should be used less frequently to assist in neutralizing certain types of conflict that can produce undesirable outcomes.
With each elemental conflict management skill identified, there was an assessment of each skill along with how each skill is addressed appropriately. I know that I have plenty of room to grow, and if I take the time assess the conflict that is materializing, then I will have the necessary tool to successfully maneuver my way through the hills and valleys of the conflict. Conflict is something that can be managed, and it is up me to properly navigate my way through the maze that I tread through on a daily basis.