5 DISC Conflict Styles Explained

How to Resolve Workplace Conflict with DISC

29 March 2023, By Chris Schutte

woman thinking, disc conflict styles

Table of Contents

Conflict management is the practice of being able to identify and manage conflicts sensibly, fairly, and efficiently. The conflict management process deals with (perceived) incompatibilities or disagreements arising from, for example, diverging opinions, objectives, and needs. Since conflicts in a business are a natural part of the workplace, it is important that there are people who understand conflicts and know how to resolve them. This is important in today’s market more than ever. Everyone is striving to show how valuable they are to the company they work for and at times, this can lead to disputes with other members of the team.

So, when do you start to manage conflict in your business?

Table of Contents

Start Before Conflict Arises

Firstly, the textbook conflict management styles have been defined as:

  1. Competing/Competitive
  2. Collaborative/collaborating
  3. Accommodating
  4. Avoiding
  5. Compromising
engaged employees, managed conflict

These styles can already be identified amongst team members way before any conflict starts. This is where behaviour profiles like InterDISC play a very important role in predetermining the predictive conflict style of team members.

High D - The Competitive Style

A competing style takes a firm stance and refuses to see the perspectives of the other parties. You would keep pushing your viewpoint or rejecting other people’s ideas until you get your way.

This style could be appropriate when there is a need to make a quick decision and force others to get on board, need to end a long-term conflict, or have to prevent a terrible, opposing decision from being made.

This is the value of the D profile where the D-factor measures as the strongest factor of the InterDISC profile.

disc conflict styles graph high I

High SI - The Collaborative Style

A collaborating style attempts to find a solution that will meet the needs of all parties. Rather than trying to find a middle ground solution, the aim for a solution is to satisfy everyone and it ends up being a win-win situation.

This style could be appropriate when multiple perspectives need to be addressed, there is an important relationship between the parties, the final solution is too important for anyone to be displeased, or the beliefs of multiple stakeholders must be represented.

This is the value of the S + I profile where the S+I-factor measures as the strongest factor of the InterDISC profile.

disc conflict styles graph high IS

High S - The Accommodating Style

An accommodating style forsakes your own needs or desires in exchange for those of others. You would be putting the concerns of others before your own. This style usually takes place when you simply give in or are persuaded to give in.

This style could be appropriate when the peace needs to be kept. Keeping calm and agreeing with the other person’s point-of-view is in the interest of the success of the team.

This is the value of the S profile where the S-factor measures as the strongest factor in combination with the lowest factor being the D-factor of the InterDISC profile.

disc conflict styles graph high S

High C - The Avoiding Style

An avoiding style completely side-steps the conflict. You would neither pursue belief nor those of others and continuously postpone or completely avoid the conflict whenever it comes up.

This style could be appropriate to use when the conflict seems trivial, more time is needed to think, there is no chance of winning, or there is a fear of being met with resentment.

This is the value of the C profile where the C-factor measures as the strongest factor in combination with the lowest factor being the D-factor of the InterDISC profile.

disc conflict styles graph high C

High DI - The Compromising Style

A compromising style attempts to find a solution that will at least partially please all parties. You would work to find a middle ground between all the needs, which would typically leave people unsatisfied or only satisfied to a certain extent.

This style could be appropriate when it’s more important to reach a solution than for the solution to be great, typically when a deadline is rapidly approaching, there is an impasse, or a temporary solution for the moment is needed.

This is the value of the ID profile where the I+D-factor measures as the strongest factor in combination with the lowest factor being the S-factor of the InterDISC profile.

disc conflict styles graph high DI

Every conflict is different, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to solving each one. Each style has strengths and weaknesses that make it effective depending on the conflict.

Developing Stronger Teams with DISC Conflict Management

Building the relationships amongst team members and giving them the knowledge and understanding of the conflict management styles that they bring to the team/s is what builds strong relationships. Strong and sound relationships on the other hand can then be fallen back on when the conflict is resolved with:

  1. Proper and appropriate communication
  2. Listening to each other
  3. Quality review the situation
  4. Reaching a win-win solution is made easier

Conclusion

Starting the building of relationships early by identifying the profiles of the team and assessing the potential conflict areas gives you a head start in managing the conflict when it arises – and it will.

Conflict is an unavoidable reality in the workplace. Smart organisations know this and prepare their management with the proper conflict management skills to handle and resolve workplace conflicts quickly and peacefully.

Prevention is always better than cure.

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chris schutte, managing director at interact global

Author of this Article

Chris Schutte

Chris has 30 years experience as senior manager and entrepreneur in the Human Capital consulting and management industry, using the DISC test in his practices. He has a wealth of experience in business development, Human Resources and Human Capital risk management and turn-around strategies. His leadership experience, runs across various industries including Manufacturing, Retail, HR, etc.