Pick one of the conflict-handling modes from your TKI-conflict profile (Competing, Collaborating, Compromising, Avoiding, Accommodating) that you use infrequently. Why don’t you use this mode as frequently as others? Do you think that you underutilize this mode? Are there situations in which this mode might be useful to you and/or others? How might you use this mode in intercultural settings?

I have rarely used the Avoiding mode, but after looking in-depth into the pros and cons of each mode of conflict resolution, I realised that there are many merits to using the mode, especially in terms of using the modes that I have hardly used before.

In the case of the avoiding mode, it can take the form of “diplomatically sidestepping an issue, postponing an issue until a better time, or simply withdrawing from a threatening situation.” I have not been using this mode much because I have often been quite an assertive person, always directly speaking my thought rather than circumventing a conversation. However, I realised that this mode would be very helpful in situations where the opposite side is very threatening or dedicated to upholding their opinions. Rather than directly confronting the other side, avoiding would help us maintain peace and also build social capital that we can use in later stages to articulate our priorities and concerns.

In an intercultural setting, the avoiding mode would be particularly helpful in cases of significant disparities between the two parties. For example, avoiding to talk about sensitive topics for particular cultural groups would ensure that nobody is hurt, while other conflict resolution styles would unavoidably touch upon the soft spots. Avoiding is also helpful when there is a lot of tension in the room, which often happens in cross-cultural negotiations. It can reduce tensions to a productive level and allow us to reconsider the problem at hand with composure.