Assessing Conflict Management Styles and Techniques

Conflict Management Assessment – How to Identify Your Conflict Management Style

The assessor, in one-on-one, confidential interviews, can clarify stakeholders’ interests and needs. These interviews can also help build relationships.

During these interviews, the assessor should address interviewees’ concerns about media coverage of a consensus building process. The assessor should explain that a conflict assessment will not be released to the press, and it should remain confidential.

The Thomas-Kilmann Instrument (TKI)

The TKI assessment helps people identify their conflict management style. It is composed of 30 questions with paired statements, and the person selects the statement that best describes their response to each question. The assessment provides a profile and interpretation report based on the responses to each statement. It also includes a percentile score that indicates how well the person performs in comparison to other participants in a representative sample of 8,000 employed adults.

The assessment is easy to use and does not require certification. It can be used to discover how you typically approach differences with others, and whether your behavior is contributing to workplace stress and burnout.

The TKI assessment is different from other assessments in that it does not consider conflicts as negative situations. It also assesses a person’s assertiveness and cooperativeness in dealing with others, rather than his or her preference for one particular conflict mode. A comprehensive understanding of the TKI requires a greater awareness of all five conflict modes, and practice with each of them.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

The MBTI is a popular personality assessment that’s used by individuals & organizations to better understand themselves & improve workplace dynamics. It’s loosely based on the theory of psychological types developed by Carl Jung. The MBTI’s two major dimensions are judging (thinking or feeling) versus perceiving (sensing or intuition).

People choose one of four indicators that represent their preference in each pair. These preferences then translate into four-letter personality types. When it comes to conflict management, the MBTI’s judging & perceiving dimensions can provide valuable insights into how you and others deal with disagreements.

Despite its popularity, the MBTI isn’t without controversy. For example, the MBTI has low test-retest reliability, meaning that when you take the assessment again after a short period of time, there’s a good chance that you will have a different result than your initial one. This discrepancy can cause confusion and frustration. Also, the MBTI doesn’t evaluate performance and it should not be used for hiring or promotion decisions.

Conciliation Techniques

In conciliation, disputing parties meet with a neutral third party, called a conciliator, to discuss their differences. Similar to mediation, a conciliator helps both sides communicate better and find solutions to their dispute. Conciliation can help parties avoid legal action and save money.

One of the main advantages of conciliation is that it allows participants to speak freely and without fear of retribution. This can reduce feelings of anger and resentment that often arise in disputes.

During conciliation, parties will share facts about the situation and what they see as the primary issues. The conciliator will also ask the participants to suggest options for settling the dispute.

In this book, the authors provide tools for navigating difficult conversations in the workplace. These tools include activities, assessments, journaling prompts and educational handouts that can be photocopied and used in workplace training sessions. The authors also include a free cost of conflict calculator and tools to improve cross-cultural communication.

Facilitation Techniques

A good facilitator is skilled at creating a space that allows the group to discuss and work through issues. This includes ensuring that everyone can speak up without feeling talked over or shot down. One way to do this is by using methods like the Assertive Message Role Play.

If there is a discussion that becomes contentious, the facilitator should intervene through questioning. It is important to remain neutral and approachable, while also acknowledging that the group has lost focus.

Facilitating a conflict often means going beyond the surface level and discovering underlying issues that may contribute to the problem. Using tools like the Fishbone Analysis is one way to help a group go deeper by identifying the head of the fish, the issue they are dealing with, and then adding in the various causes as bones on the diagram. This can help the group find better solutions and prevent future problems. Using visual evaluation methods can also be helpful.

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