Would you always like to have conflicts that make you uneasy or would you rather have conversations where both the persons who are part of the deal spell out the terms in a calm and composed manner?
To analyze this, we need to understand one of the most commonly used instruments which is used as a catalyst to open discussions on difficult issues and facilitate learning about how conflict-handling modes affect the personal, group, and organizational dynamics. It Is known as the Thomas Kilmann model.
These two underlying dimensions of human behavior (assertiveness and cooperativeness) can then be used to define five different modes for responding to conflict situations:
- Competing – these individuals are highly transactional in nature. This is a power-oriented behavior where one tries to win as much as one could. The person is focused only on deal-making and not in a mode where they would encourage long-term relationships with people.
- Accommodating – it is shown as a mode where one gives up to win a battle and take the social credits. This could be beneficial in a manner but later on, it may turn out to be a situation where you are taken for granted. Here, the need to be assertive comes into force otherwise the other party might end up taking advantage of the situation.
- Collaborating – this is where the individuals are shown as being both assertive and cooperative at the same time. This is where the person tries to engage where both the parties can find a solution that may be a problem by satisfying their respective concerns. Here, the ultimate aim is to create value for both the parties involved.
- Compromising – Compromising is a situation where the person gives up the competing behavior but is less than that of being accommodative. It addresses an issue rather than avoiding it for mutual benefit. compromising might mean splitting the difference between the two positions, exchanging concessions, or seeking a quick middle-ground solution.
- Avoiding – this person is one who is uninterested in anything when a conversation happens. He/she is nonassertive and non-cooperating. Avoiding might take the form of diplomatically sidestepping an issue, postponing an issue until a better time, or simply withdrawing from a threatening situation.
The Thomas-Kilmann Instrument is designed to measure your use of conflict-handling modes across a wide variety of group and organizational settings.
“It’s incredibly important to not be afraid when conflict arises because there are things you can do, such as becoming more skilled and qualified by building a repertoire for responding to reduce conflict,” says Dr. Benoliel.