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07 Understanding and handling conflict > Horses for courses - Pg. 115

Understanding and Handling Conflict 115 5. Accommodating Accommodating is the opposite of competing ­ highly coopera- tive, but not assertive. It is the style you would adopt when you are happy for the other person to get their way; maybe the issue isn't important to you ­ or just a lot less important to you than it is to the other person. Alternatively, as you start to discuss the matter, you might realize that they have a point ­ their idea would actually work better than yours. Accommodating is also an appropriate style when the relationship with the other party is more important than the matter in hand. If you choose to accommodate, it usually makes sense to convey your flexibility and open-mindedness ­ and emphasize the fact that it's a one-off. This helps to ensure that you get the credit for accommodating, and will minimize the risk that your action sets an unfortunate precedent. Horses for courses According to Thomas and Kilmann, all these styles are appro- priate at different times and in different circumstances. The trick is to know which to use, and to possess the skills to pull it off. In choosing your conflict resolution style, you always have to consider the personality of the other person and the nature of the conflict. The difficulty is that most people tend to use a couple of styles only, driven by their personality. For example, some might tend to inhabit the bottom half of the matrix; they are not very good at asserting their own requirements. This may be because they don't like to ask for favours, especially for themselves. Or they may just prefer it when other people get what they want. Contrast this individual with someone who habitually competes, occasionally collaborating when they believe their proposed solution could also incorporate the other person's wishes. This person is highly assertive; they are only cooperative when it won't diminish their own chance of winning.