When is Avoiding Appropriate?

Depending on circumstances, avoiding conflict may be an appropriate choice. According to Thomas-Kilmann avoidance can be an appropriate form when dealing with conflict in the following situations:

When the issue is not important and other matters may be more pressing. Therefore use time and effort where it is more productive.

When there is no opportunity available to address the concern where attempts of dealing with the problem may make matters worse. Therefore it may not be the right time.

When the potential cost of confrontation outweighs the benefits of addressing it. It requires judgment and assessment.

To buy time and give the other party an opportunity to calm down to reduce tension. It is important to take a break for regaining composure and perspective when situations heat up.

To refrain from rushed decisions and allowing time to obtain support and more information as prepared and well planned decisions are usually the best decisions.

When the conflict is resolved more appropriately by others. Therefore resist getting into conflicts that are dealt better by other people.

When the current issue is tangential or may not be addressing the actual real problem. One should look for the core problem not just the symptoms.


Myers-Briggs Type and Avoiding Conflict

Research from Myers-Briggs Type Indicator suggests that individuals who consistently and inappropriately avoid conflict tend to be an introvert rather than extrovert and rather than having a thinking preference, they have a feeling preference. Introverted people hold in their feelings and thoughts and they are less willing to spontaneously react to conflicts. Introverts make decisions on the basis of being sensitive to the impact the disagreement has on involved parties rather than based on logic and facts. Introverts may be seen as passive or weak if they make efforts to avoid conflict.

Working with Conflict Avoidant Individuals

Using avoidance to deal with conflicts can have positive and negative implications. When working with these individuals it is helpful to get them considering the pros and cons of avoiding conflicts and then developing a strategy or plan.

Role playing or a plan of action gives the conflict avoidant individual the confidence they need for dealing with the conflict. Assertiveness coaching can also help. Preparatory approaches help to express feelings and thoughts in a manner that is less stressful than talking spontaneously.


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