TKI Test: The Art of Skillful Compromising

Leon Jesmanowicz, Vice-PresidentAssessments, TKI

Two businessmen Compromising to garner resultsThe Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, or TKI test for short, focuses on how to best deal with conflict.  One of the methods of dealing with conflicts is the art of Compromising.  The secret to skillfully utilizing Compromising in your conflicts is identifying exactly when it is appropriate, and when other modes of conflict management can lead to better results.

Compromising successfully requires that both parties in a conflict agree to partially sacrifice their concerns for the sake of coming to a conflict resolution.

The first rule to Compromising successfully is realizing when an issue is too important to compromise on.  Attempting to compromise on vital issues can lead to a complete breakdown of communication, leading to failure of conflict resolution.  The Compromising mode is best suited for dealing with issues that are of intermediate concern to you.

The most appropriate time to use the TKI Compromising mode of conflict management is when TKI Competing and Collaborating modes are not practical, or have failed to garner the expected results.   The best approach is often for both sides to take turns making small sacrifices toward a solution that both consider “good enough”.  It is important to remember that if one side starts to make the majority of the sacrifices it can lead to resentment and may even lead to them feeling exploited.

It’s natural for individuals to not be happy to make sacrifices in their stances on a given concern, so focusing on the overall “fairness” of a resolution is key to a successful compromise.   If an issue is extremely complex and time is of the essence, then it is appropriate to settle for a temporary solution that can be addressed under more optimal circumstances for both parties at a later date.

The benefits of utilizing the TKI Compromising mode properly can be great.  It can take the strain off of a relationship that is stuck in a stalemate, can help two individuals with equal levels of authority save face without either looking weak, and allows for a logical and fair solution to potentially emotionally charged situations.

Everyone has a different preference for which conflict handling modes they prefer and in many situations Collaborating or Competing can solve a conflict more directly or effectively, but there are times that the proper use of the Compromising mode can lead to the best results for both parties.

To find out which conflict modes you use most often, along with tips on how to improve your conflict management skills check out the TKI test HERE.  You can also learn more about the TKI assessment HERE.

[ TKI-based information was taken from the following publication: (Kenneth W. Thomas, 2002, CPP Inc.)]