The research work of Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann in the 1970’s led to the identification of five styles of conflict and the development of a widely used self-assessment called the Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, or TKI.Their work suggested that we all have a primary, preferred way to deal with conflict, which serves us well in some situations, but not all.

accommodating style-46accommodating style-77accommodating style-22

Thomas and Kilmann’s styles are: Competitive (Forcing): People who tend towards a competitive style take a firm stand, and know what they want.

They usually operate from a position of power, drawn from things like position, rank, expertise, or persuasive ability.

The key to success for us is to develop a flexible toolkit of approaches and use the one that best fits the situation.

The more you can get comfortable with each way of dealing with conflict, the more effective you will be.

Collaborating With the collaborative approach, you work with the person(s) to develop a win-win solution.

In this approach, the focus in on finding a win-win solution that meets everyone’s needs.This style is appropriate when: The last approach is to avoid the conflict entirely.People who use this style tend to accept decisions without question, avoid confrontation, and delegate difficult decisions and tasks.Kolb states that learning involves the acquisition of abstract concepts that can be applied flexibly in a range of situations.In Kolb’s theory, the impetus for the development of new concepts is provided by new experiences.Learn when and how to use all five, and you’ll be much more effective than always relying on what your preferred style is.