How do you respond to conflict?

How do you respond to conflict?


Knowing and understanding how you respond to conflict can help you manage disagreements more effectively…


The Thomas-Kilmann diagnostic instrument identifies five styles of conflict, based on your degree of assertiveness and degree of cooperation. Which style is yours?

The Avoider:
Generally unassertive and uncooperative. The Avoider will dodge confrontation and physically and emotionally remove themselves from the conversation.
Catchphrase: ‘I don’t want to deal with this now.’
Pros: They may avoid potentially dangerous or threatening situations.
Allows for time to cool down if emotions are high.
Cons: The Avoider never learns to speak up for themselves.

The Competitor:
Generally assertive and uncooperative. The Competitor is usually stubborn and strong-willed.
Catchphrase: ‘I’m in charge.’
Pros: The competitor is great to have around in the event of an emergency or when a decision needs to be made quickly.
Cons: They’re not overly concerned about relationships.

The Collaborator
Generally assertive and cooperative – looks at the bigger picture.
Catchphrase: ‘We both win.’
Pros: Looks for a solution to the conflict that will satisfy both parties. Often takes the time to discuss thoughts and feelings.
Cons: This approach can be time-consuming and seen as unnecessary by the other conflict styles.
The Compromiser:
The Compromiser likes to meet in the middle and to resolve conflict fairly quickly.
Catchphrase: ‘Let’s meet halfway.’
Pros: Both parties have to give something up in order for both to be satisfied.
Cons: It can be a time-consuming negotiation process if one party is unwilling to give in their share.

The Accommodator:
Generally unassertive and cooperative – easy-going and eager to please.
Catchphrase: ‘I give in.’
Pros: The Accommodator cares more about the person than the issue.
Cons: At times the Accommodator can feel resentful if their needs are not met.

Joni van der Merwe

About Joni van der Merwe

Your Family’s Digital editor. Avid retweeter. When I’m not scrolling Instagram you’ll find me in my garden. Keen on DIY and I don’t believe there’s anything that can’t be fixed with some chalk paint.


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