Yesterday we were talking about the differences in the way each of us handle conflict. Many of us knew pretty quickly which way we leaned, but many of us also had 2 different ways of conflict when we're in low or high stress situations. Teddy Bears and Owls are more concerned about the integrity of the relationship, and may sacrifice what they know to be good, right, and just in favor of maintaining the relationship. Sharks and Turtles value the issues of what is good, right, and just and may put the truth over relationships. I believe I tend to be more of a turtle and tend to choose "forgiving and forgetting" over confronting or engaging in conflict.
Each of these styles has their strengths and weaknesses, and a godly community is characterized by all involved using the strengths of their style to deal well with conflict while recognizing their weaknesses and relying on others to help them in those areas.
Teddy Bear (accommodating style)
For those who fall into this category, the relationship is of great importance, while their own agenda is of little importance. They want to be accepted and liked by other people, they think that conflict should be avoided in favor of harmony and believe that conflicts cannot be discussed without damaging relationships. They are afraid that if the conflict continues, someone will get hurt and that would ruin the relationship. They give up their goals to preserve the relationship. They try to smooth over the conflict in fear of harming the relationship.
Turtles (avoiding style)
People with this type tend to withdraw in order to avoid conflicts. They give up their personal goals and relationships, stay away from the issues over which the conflict is taking place and from the people they are in conflict with, and believe it is hopeless to try to resolve conflicts. They believe it is easier to withdraw (physically an psychologically) from a conflict than to face it. Some people attempt to avoid conflict by postponing it, hiding their feelings, changing the subject, leaving the room or quitting the project.
Foxes (compromising style)
People with this style are moderately concerned with their own agenda and about their relationships with other people. They seek a compromise. They give up part of their goals and persuade the other person in a conflict to give up part of their goals. They believe that differences between people would be treated in light of the common good and that parties need to "win a little, lose a little." They seek a solution to conflicts where both sides gain something.
Sharks (or lions) (competing style)
These people's goals are highly important to them but their relationships tend to be of minor importance. They place prime importance on achieving their agenda or upon their interpretation of what is best for all concerned. If necessary, they will sacrifice relationship in order to accomplish this.In these instances, they do not care if other people like or accept them and are not concerned with the needs of other people. They assume that conflicts are settled by one person winning and the other losing. While winning gives them a sense of pride and achievement, losing gives them a sense of weakness, inadequacy, and failure. People in this category therefore try to overpower opponents by forcing them to accept their solution to the conflict.
Owls (collaborating style)
People in this category highly value their own goals as well as relationships. They view conflicts as problems to be solved and seek a solution that achieves both their own goals and the goals of the other person in the conflict. They believe conflict improves relationships by reducing tension between people. By seeking solutions that satisfy both themselves and the other person they maintain the relationship. They are not satisfied until a solution in found that achieves their own goals and the other person's goals and they want all tensions and negative feelings to be fully resolved.
Taken from MTI's SPLICE training manual