People are the most complex constituents of a team and organization considering the diversity of backgrounds and thought processes they come with. Conflict is therefore an issue often found in a corporate environment. The course of acknowledging a conflict and dealing with it in the most sensible and fair manner is what is understood by the term of ‘conflict management’. A team cannot perform efficiently with unresolved conflicts and impending indecision’s. Effective skills in conflict management can take the team a long way.
One of the most popular methods used to measure an employee’s response to a situation of conflict is the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI). Conflicts arise when 2 individuals have diverse view-points and concerns. As such, these individuals can either be assertive by nature or alternatively, co-operative. The extent of the influence of these two characteristics help assess and trace a strategy for effective conflict management. These 2 basic characteristics give rise to 5 possible responses a conflict:
These people are assertive and uncooperative. A sense of power creeps in to this kind of a conflict response where the individual seeks to retain or fight for what is best for him/her. Defending one’s position or a simple desire to win and dominate is the characteristic of a competing individual. Complete lack of sensitivity to others makes a competing individual who can also be referred to as a tough battler.
An accommodating individual is unassertive and cooperative. The complete opposite of a competing person, an accommodative individual is on the brink of self-sacrifice and is a friendly helper. Mindless of personal gain and desire, he/she gives in to the other’s wishes. Despite being unconvinced or unwilling, an accommodating person will give in to the other’s views or obey given instructions.
This kind of an individual is both unassertive and uncooperative. This individual is let goes for not only his/her personal desires but also those of other people. In other words, this individual does not deal with a conflict face-to-face. He/she may side step an issue, postpone it for a later date and time or simply withdraw from an unwanted threat or situation. An impersonal complier, there is usually no conflict with such people.
This individual is both assertive and collaborative. A person with characteristics that are contradicting with a person that avoids, he/she is willing to work with others to work on and develop a solution that satisfies their concerns. An issue is worked upon right up to the grass root level and a creative solution is found to the existing inter-personal relationship. A problem solver, this type of individual is proactive in the process of conflict management.
A compromising person is moderate both in assertiveness and cooperativeness. An intermediate between competing and accommodating styles of responding, a compromising individual finds a mutually acceptable solution for both the parties concerned. An issue is addressed more pro-actively than an avoiding person but not as much in depth as a collaborative person. It basically refers to finding a mid-path. The maneuvering conciliator is an ideal candidate in conflict management.
It is not possible to classify a person into one particular category. Depending on the situation and scenario, people react differently and therefore can be accommodative in one case while entirely avoiding the situation in another. Identifying the response in a specific scenario of conflict can help in developing strategies of conflict management. We, at The Umbrella specialize in equipping managers and team members with necessary skills for effective conflict management.
A number of techniques are used in our training sessions that help trainees assess problems and devise strategies and solutions accordingly. Case studies, classroom trainings and outbound programs can be specially designed to cater to a particular team with learning’s centered around commonly faced problems. With conflict being an integral part of every institution, it is not possible to avoid the same. We encourage the healthy tackling of every conflict that will not only ensure smooth functioning but also allows for interpersonal relationships to build and develop. Effective resolution of conflicts has the power to strengthen relationships, build an ambiance of trust and responsibility alongside the smooth functioning of a team and our training programs ensure just that!