I love the Thomas-Kilmann conflict resolution model. I use these principles personally and in my coaching work. I share these principles with my clients who come to me for general leadership coaching and those who must deal with organizational or relationship conflict issues — which are just about everyone I work with at one time or another.
Any of the Thomas-Kilmann options may be appropriate for a situation of conflict. I have found that following Dr. Henry Cloud’s teaching on the wise, foolish, and evil person is also very helpful when determining which of the five options would work best.
Here Are The Thomas-Kilmann 5 Options When Dealing with Conflict Resolution
1. Competing. The Competing option is at the top left of the model which means you take a wholly assertive and uncooperative approach to resolve the conflict. It means standing up for your rights, defending a position that you believe is correct, or simply trying to beat the other side.
2. Accommodating. The Accommodating option is at the bottom right of the model which means you take a wholly unassertive and cooperative approach. This might take the form of selfless generosity or charity, giving in to another person’s orders when you would prefer not to, or yielding to another’s point of view.
3. Avoiding. The Avoiding option is at the bottom left of the model which means you take an unassertive and uncooperative approach to the conflict and don’t deal with it. Avoiding might take the form of diplomatically sidestepping an issue, postponing an issue until a better time, or simply withdrawing from a threatening situation.
4. Compromising. The Compromising option is at the center of the model because it is both assertive and cooperative but only to some extent. It’s the approach of “half a sixpence is better than none”. Both sides get something but not everything. It might mean splitting the difference between the two positions, some give and take, or seeking a quick solution in the middle ground.
5. Collaborating. The Collaborating option is at the top right of the model and is at the opposite extreme of avoiding. It means being willing to believe that when two parties are at loggerheads, it is possible for both sides to come out with what they want. Collaborating requires developed conflict resolution skills based on mutual respect, a willingness to listen to others, and creativity in finding solutions.
For more information about the Thomas-Kilmann model click here.
P.S. If you are dealing with conflict (personally or professionally) please fill out the contact form below and Beth will reach out to you.