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What is Thomas/Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument?

The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI) is a popular tool used to assess how individuals typically behave in conflict situations. It identifies five main conflict styles based on two key dimensions: assertiveness (pushing for your needs) and cooperativeness (considering the other person’s needs).

The five styles are competing (high assertiveness, low cooperativeness), collaborating (high assertiveness, high cooperativeness), avoiding (low assertiveness, low cooperativeness), accommodating (low assertiveness, high cooperativeness), and compromising (mid-level assertiveness and cooperativeness). By understanding your preferred style and those of others, the TKI can help you choose more effective communication strategies in conflict situations. This can lead to more productive outcomes and better relationships.

What is an example use of Thomas/Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument?

This model helps us understand the different ways we behaviour when we disagree with each other. It is incredibly helpful to develop an understanding of this model in teams and organisations.

It is completely normal, and indeed, desirable, for us to think different things. (I like coffee, you like tea…) However, often we feel uncomfortable about that and situations can escalate. 

Understanding the different behaviours can give teams the language to talk about what is happening e.g. ‘I notice we are competing here. I wonder how we might shift the conversation?’

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