What Is the Compromising Conflict Management Style and When Should You Use It?

Everyone handles conflict differently. As conflict management skills go, the compromising conflict style works well when there are two equally formidable parties willing to make concessions in the interest of maintaining a good working relationship. 

The compromising conflict management style is just one of five styles of conflict resolution. The four other styles are:

What is the compromising style?

Compromising conflict style is a valuable tool for managers, particularly when you’re dealing with multiple parties with differing interests.  The Latin comprōmissum means “a mutual promise.” And the French compromis means “accord.” Compromise brings about agreement, but it doesn’t necessarily solve underlying issues. Compromise is frequently an arrangement where there’s a mutual concession: a middle ground is reached and both parties give up something to get something. It can produce a solution, and everyone may move on momentarily, but the parties may feel discontent in the long term. 

Example of the compromising style in practice

Let’s say the construction project you’re managing has fallen behind schedule. You and your partner disagree on how to proceed. You want to ask the client for a two-week extension while your partner wants to ask the crews to work longer hours, five days a week. After arguing for several days, you suggest to your partner that you ask the client for a one-week extension on the deadline and ask your crews to work additional hours only three days a week instead of five. Neither of you is completely happy with this option, but you decide to make do and to quickly move past the conflict. 

Compromise vs. collaboration: What’s the difference?

Compromising and collaborating both involve opposing parties getting their needs met. The main difference is to what extent those needs are met. 

Compromising means that both sides make concessions, so each party is somewhat satisfied but not entirely satisfied with the outcome. In a compromise, each party gives up some of what they want in order to move forward. 

By contrast, collaborating means that both parties get all their needs met. Those who employ collaboration are partners in the creation of an answer. By establishing trust among parties and communicating with thoughtfulness and empathy, the two sides find a creative solution that meets everyone’s needs.

When should you use the compromising style? 

Using compromise to manage conflict is appropriate in the following situations:

When should you not use the compromising style? 

Using compromise to manage conflict is not appropriate in the following situations:

MT Copeland offers video-based online classes that give you a foundation in construction fundamentals with real-world applications, like managing conflict on the jobsite

Classes include professionally produced videos taught by practicing craftspeople, and supplementary downloads like quizzes, blueprints, and other materials to help you master the skills. 

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