Understanding and Resolving Conflict in the Workplace: The TKI Check-in
Updated: Mar 10
This is a culture micro-practices - small, sometimes unconventional ideas to improve company culture, inspire new behaviours and ways of working, and promote psychological safety, collaboration, employee experience, and engagement.
Conflict is an inevitable part of working with others. No matter how cohesive your team is, disagreements and misunderstandings can arise. However, unresolved conflict can be costly, both in terms of time and productivity.
According to research, employees spend up to 12 hours a month dealing with conflict. That's 144 hours a year, or 18 working days! In this article, I'll discuss a culture micro-practice that can help your team resolve conflict more effectively and productively.
Understanding Conflict Responses: The TKI Model
The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI) is a popular tool used to help individuals and teams understand their preferred conflict resolution styles.
The TKI model identifies five conflict modes: competing, collaborating, compromising, avoiding, and accommodating. Each mode represents a different approach to handling conflict, with varying levels of assertiveness and cooperativeness.
Culture Micro-Practice: The TKI Check-in
Here's how you can use the TKI model to improve conflict resolution skills in your team:
Introduce the five conflict modes and their definitions to your team. Explain that each mode has its strengths and weaknesses and that no one mode is better than the others.
Set aside time each day or week for a "TKI check-in." This can be done in a team meeting or individually.
During the check-in, ask each team member to reflect on a recent conflict or challenge they faced and identify which conflict mode they used to resolve it.
Share and discuss as a group. Encourage team members to ask questions and provide feedback.
Have team members also consider what mode they wish they had used in retrospect.
Make it fun by using different activities that encourage participation and engagement, like creating a TKI game, creating a TKI leaderboard, or creating a TKI wall with the different modes. These activities can help team members understand and internalise the TKI model in a more engaging way.
Finally, remind the team that the goal is to improve communication and problem-solving skills, and not to single out any one person or situation.
By using the TKI model, your team can develop a shared language and understanding of conflict resolution. This can help team members communicate more effectively, reduce misunderstandings, and resolve conflicts more efficiently. Moreover, by reflecting on past conflicts, team members can learn from each other and identify areas for improvement.
In conclusion, conflict is a natural part of collaboration, and it can be a source of energy and innovation if managed effectively. By using the TKI model as a culture micro-practice, your team can develop the skills and mindset needed to handle conflict productively and collaboratively.
Give it a whirl. Let me know how it goes by sharing and tagging me on LinkedIn (#micropractice).
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