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Conflict Resolution Approaches

(Thomas-Killman Model)


There are five main categories of conflict resolution styles, and endless strategies that fall beneath each one of these styles. Think about how you usually respond to conflict. What styles and strategies do you use most often?


Side-stepping, postponing, or ignoring an issue altogether. Choosing not to engage in the conflict at all. Letting something go even though it may be bothering you.


Forcing others to see things your way. Being unwilling to compromise. Aiming to satisfy your goals at the expense of the goals or opinions of others.


Parties each give something up in order to get something. Meeting somewhere in the middle between different goals. Partly resolves concerns of each person.


Giving up your goal so that the goal(s) of other parties may be achieved. Going along with what the other parties want at the expense of your own wants or needs.


Thinking creatively together to find a solution or a path forward that satisfies everyone's goals or needs. Brainstorming to come up with "outside the box" ideas.

No one approach is better or worse than another. Conflict resolution approaches and strategies are situation and context-specific. Each approach has advantages and disadvantages. Getting comfortable with all 5 approaches is helpful - the greater your tool set, the greater your chances are for success.

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