Arguing At Work? 3 Conflict Styles and How To Resolve Them

By Jennifer Lahey  |  

2.9 min read


onflict is a natural part of life and inevitable in any job. Disagreeing with your co-worker or boss is normal and perhaps sometimes even encouraged to get different perspectives on a problem and solve it in the best way. However, conflict resolution itself is not something that everyone has the tools to do naturally. You might be thinking to yourself that this kind of boss or co-worker sounds familiar, the one that gets aggressive, manipulative, or silent when told they are wrong and you disagree with them. How can we get better at this?

There is no one size fits all answer or approach to conflict that is best. Your conflict style may have advantages that make you successful at your job but might not work in any other situation, leading you to make the people around you dislike you and ultimately ruin your career. What conflict style fits you best?

1 – Competitor 

Lawrese Brown, founder of C-Track Training, a workplace education company, said that “how people work together through conflict reflects a foundational choice in their priorities.” A person who is a Competitor often has an assertive and uncooperative arguing style, according to behavioural scientists Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann. In terms of PI, a Competitor can be compared to high A, low C profiles within The Predictive Index’s 17 Reference Profiles. High A, low C profiles like Mavericks have a high amount of dominance and a low amount of patience – they act quickly and are confident decision-makers.

How to solve this communication barrier: Competitors or Mavericks should remind themselves that someone else might have a better suggestion and get other opinions on problem-solving decisions. 

2 – Collaborator and Conflict-Avoider 

Much like the Collaborators within The Predictive Index’s 17 Reference Profiles, this type of person is looking to reach a consensus when disagreeing with their co-workers or boss. As a Collaborator, it is in their nature to want everyone to feel heard but according to Brown, this can lead to Collaborators making promises they can’t keep. In PI terms, a Collaborator is described as someone open and approachable. A Collaborator often has difficulty making unpopular decisions and following through.

How to solve this communication barrier: Collaborators should ask themselves if they are setting appropriate expectations for themselves and others.

3 – The Dealmaker 

Brown describes a dealmaker as someone who will bargain with you to get the results they want. They do not concentrate on doing what is possible to resolve the situation but instead focus on the transactions they can make to get past the conflict. They are compromisers who think about meeting their peers in the middle to get the job done. 

How to solve this communication barrier: Make sure you understand what the dealmaker is offering and give yourself time and space to reflect before you seal the deal.

Not sure if your employees are collaborating well? It could be that there is a disconnect between how your employees are hardwired to work and the job they are performing. The Predictive Index Behavioural Assessment and Job Assessment can help you build teams that perform like magic. 

Try the PI Behavioural Assessment for yourself.

This article is written based on original content written by Monica Torres for HuffPost. Read the full article here. 


Torres, M. (2021, October) The 7 conflict styles of people you argue with at work. HuffPost. Retrieved from 

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