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Turning Point
Volume II, Issue 19
This Month It's All About
Coming Attractions
What are the Five Conflict Resolution Modes?
Margaret Recommends
About Margaret
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October 22, 2009
Personally Speaking

What's the single best way to handle conflict? Sorry, that is a bit of a trick question. There is not just one best way to resolve a conflict. There are many approaches.  And we each have a preference or our own natural 'go to' style.  This is the way you would automatically handle all conflicts if you did not know there was any other way. But there are other ways and today we are looking at five different modes of conflict resolution. See if you can identify your style.

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Margaret Meloni

Coming Attractions

Dates to Remember
Tuesday, November 10 2009, 6 pm - 7 pm PST

How Can You Help Resolve the Conflicts Around You?
Should you Help?

Maybe you have really mastered conflict resolution and you would like to help others. Perhaps you are the person others come to for help with a conflict or you work in an environment where conflict is a regular occurrence. How can you help others who are experiencing conflict? Should you help others who are in the midst of a conflict? Not always! Let's explore the best ways for you to help, the situations where you can help and the situations where you need to stay away.

Members of my 'Keeping the Peace' tele-coachinar group receive access to an mp3 file of the call and access to transcripts of the call. You can also submit questions in advance (this way you know YOUR concerns are addressed) and submit ideas for future topics. All this for only $48 per month.

Join Keeping the Peace: Strategies & Tips You Can Use On the Job...Now!; a live interactive group Tele-coachinar highlighting the human side of the workplace and other topics designed to unite your personal and professional life.

Click here and join the group today!
 A Message From Margaret   
What are the Five Conflict Resolution Modes?
And which one do you use most often?

Conflict ResolutionWhen you understand how you handle conflict, you can begin to understand when your approach is effective and when it is not. Then you can learn to adapt your behavior and draw from different conflict resolutions styles as-needed. There are five conflict handling modes and one of these is your preferred mode. These five modes come from the TKI or Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument.

Click here to listen to this 4 min 24 sec message from Margaret. (Or continue reading below.)

What is the TKI? The TKI is a questionnaire designed to measure how you tend to handle inter-personal conflict.  This is expressed using five modes (which we will cover next) and two dimensions:

  • Assertiveness - This is the degree to which you try to satisfy your own concerns when faced with a conflict.
  • Cooperativeness - This is the degree to which you try to satisfy the other person's concerns when faced with a conflict.

The TKI was developed in the early 70's by Kenneth W. Thomas and Ralph H. Kilmann. It was originally developed as a research tool and has grown into a wonderful training tool. Now let's take a look at the five conflict resolution modes:

Competing - This mode is considered to be very assertive and very uncooperative. Sometimes the term power-oriented is associated with this mode. This can be an individual who pursues their beliefs at another person's expense, using whatever power is appropriate to win his or her position. Although there might be some negative connotations to the way this mode is described, there are absolutely times when it is the best and most effective way to resolve a conflict.

Accommodating - The exact opposite of competing, accommodating is unassertive and highly cooperative. You might neglect your own concerns to satisfy the concerns of another person. This could be self-sacrificing, but it can also represent selfless generosity or charity or obeying orders when you would prefer not to.

Avoiding - This is unassertive and uncooperative. You are not pursuing your concerns, you are not pursuing the concerns of the other person, and you are not addressing the conflict. You might be doing this for diplomatic reasons, or to wait until a better time or maybe you are withdrawing from a threatening situation.

Collaborating - This is assertive and cooperative and it is the opposite of avoiding. You attempt to work with the other person to find a solution that satisfies both your concerns. Together you dig into the issue and identify both of your underlying concerns. You might work to understand each other's needs and perspectives so that together you can find creative solutions.

Compromising - The middle ground in terms of assertiveness and cooperativeness. Find a mutual solution that partially satisfies both of you. You give up more than you would when you are in competitive mode, but less than you would if you were accommodating. You address the issue more directly than avoiding but you don't give it as much attention and analysis as you do with collaborating. This could be splitting the difference, both of you giving ground etc.

Did any of the above resonate with you? You will find you have a preferred style but who you are dealing with will impact your style too - you might use a different style in different relationships. Remember, there is a reason and a situation for each one of the modes, but your strength will come from understanding your natural inclinations and then from learning how to employ other modes when the time is right.

PS - If you are interested in learning more or in taking the TKI assessment, contact me at
Want to use this article in your eZine or web site? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Dedicated to helping professionals become free from the work related conflict that prevents them from experiencing peace, Margaret Meloni publishes the 'Turning Point' eZine on a bi-weekly basis. Contact Margaret at

Margaret Recommends

Are YOU Experiencing Conflict with a Colleague?

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About Margaret
headshot Margaret Meloni is President of Meloni Coaching Solutions, Inc., a company devoted to helping professionals become free from the work related conflict that prevents them from having good working relationships and impacts the quality of their personal lives.

While Margaret is well known as a teacher and coach to project managers her students and clients often find that what she really brings them is freedom to bring their authentic selves to the office. Margaret truly believes that we spend a lot of time working, some times we see our co-workers more than we see our family and friends, and how we treat one another makes a tremendous impact in our lives, so let's make these interactions positive.  

You can learn more about Margaret and her courses, programs, and products at

Meloni Coaching Solutions, Inc.
5318 East Second Street #413
Long Beach, CA 90803
Phone : (866) 639-0487
Fax: (562) 439-0854