Handling Conflict Using the Thomas Kilmann Model

Ken Sevick

Conflict is unavoidable in any setting – especially within a business setting. While managing conflict isn’t the most appealing aspect of a given job, the good news is that there are solutions to help resolve conflict. The Thomas Kilmann model, for example, is a simple set of tools that are great for producing effective teamwork by helping to manage conflict in a business setting.

This model is based on levels of assertiveness and cooperation. Since all employees are different, this model is a great tool for better understanding the underlying issue and which of 5 categories an employee falls into.

Understanding the 5 conflict resolution styles within this model allows management to understand the best way to handle conflict, no matter the problem at hand. A big aspect of conflict management is the TKI Assessment. This assessment provides insight into the five different types of conflict-handling styles that are listed below.


A competitive conflict style involves an individual who puts their own needs above the overall wellbeing of the company. 


A collaborative conflict style involves behavior where an individual will work with others to find a solution that fits both of their concerns.


A compromising conflict style is halfway between assertiveness and cooperativeness. In this conflict style, an individual looks to find a mutual solution. 


An accommodating conflict style involves an individual that neglects their concern to satisfy another. This style is known to be the opposite of the competing style.Avoiding

An avoidant conflict style involves an individual who doesn’t address the conflict altogether. They are unassertive and uncooperative.

By learning the best style for resolving situations with any employee, more productive outcomes are achieved as individuals feel they are being understood more.

Taking the TKI Assessment also promotes team building, less stress, performance improvement, and much more. The great news is that the TKI Assessment doesn’t require any special certification, meaning you can utilize it in your business, no matter what industry you’re in. 

Many business owners find it useful to have their employees complete the assessment in order to better understand what their attitudes are toward conflict. This way, if a problem were to arise with an employee or group of employees, management can use the results to find the best approach possible. 

Taking the assessment yourself as a business owner, manager, or supervisor can also shed light on ways you may be able to improve upon your leadership and work better together with your employees.

This assessment takes about twenty minutes to complete and there are no wrong answers. To better understand how you manage conflict and to improve work relationships, click here to complete the TKI Assessment. 

Do you need help using the TKI Assessment and other conflict management tools in your business to help improve productivity, proactiveness, and work relationships? I can help.

I’ve been a business coach for nearly two decades and I’ve helped dozens of business owners take their business to the next level. Contact me today to take control of your business!

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