April 20th, 2009

We continue our discussion of conflict management styles with the fourth of five different options.  Last week we discussed “Avoiding” and when and how we should be taking that style as our choice. 

This week we discuss “Obliging” which sounds exactly the way it is.  This style is about giving in to others.  It places a very high value on others and a very low value on you.  You can imagine that this would not be a good conflict management style in every situation, as you would always be giving in to the other person.  A very frustrating way to operate I’m sure.

Obliging or placating implies that you are giving up something important.  This is used when you need to preserve relationships, such as in your personal life.  Your spouse may love eating sushi, and you may hate it. That means that sometimes you go to a sushi place anyway.  In the workplace you may choose the obliging style if you have made a mistake and want to offer amends.  Perhaps you lost your temper with a co-worker or said something you regret.

You are going to give more than you are going to get.  It may calm the waters in your relationship, it may show that you are flexible and it also may show goodwill.  If you always take this style of conflict management, it may show that you are afraid of conflict, are too passive, or are a wimp.

So, are you using this style strategically, or because you don’t know how to handle conflict?

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