TKI Test : When Accommodating Will Help and When It Will Set You Back

Leon Jesmanowicz, Vice-PresidentAssessments, TKI

Employee Accommodating  his co workersWithin previous blogs covering the Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, or TKI test for short, we have discussed the conflict-handling modes of Compromising, Avoiding, Competing, and Collaborating.  Today we take a closer look at the final conflict-handling mode, Accommodating.

It is natural for an individual to want to come out on top when it comes to dealing with a conflict.  The American culture focuses on “Winning” and it may come more natural for some to Compete, Collaborate, or Compromise when dealing with conflict.  Unfortunately, we do not live in a world where those options will always lead to successful conflict resolution.  There will be times when the Accommodating mode will be the most effective way of dealing with a problematic situation.

Accommodating involves accepting a position that meets the other individual’s needs at the expense of your own.  It’s a very powerful conflict-handling mode that can be very useful if used properly, but can also lead to a feeling of being “walked-on” if over used.

The Accommodating mode is best used in very specific situations.  One situation would be when you simply want to help someone out.  The main benefit of this is that it can greatly help in building relationships.  Self sacrifice can be viewed as a great sign of trust and willingness to give of oneself.  On the other hand, it can also be viewed as weakness.  If you constantly accommodate everyone around you, it is possible to lose their respect and the positive effect of your sacrifice can be lost.  Moderation and proper timing is key to maximizing benefits and minimizing losses when using this mode.

Another benefit of this mode is that it can end a conflict quickly while minimizing backlash from aggressive parties.  It can be thought of as the “fire extinguisher” of the conflict modes.  It may not solve the underlying problems of a conflict in the long run, but it can be a very effective way of putting out any “fires” that put you in un-necessary harm’s way.  You might be dealing with a significant other who had a bad day and is taking their frustrations out on you.  In this case, accommodating to their needs, and minimizing collateral damage may be the best method of dealing with the situation.

You may also run into situations where not using the Accommodating mode may be very detrimental to your situation.  This is most commonly seen when dealing with authority figures or bosses in the work place.  If you are clearly overruled or in a losing argument with a boss or other authority figure, then the Accommodating mode can allow you to concede your position gracefully and keep you from losing goodwill.

Finally, this mode is also useful when you simply realize that the other individual’s argument is correct.  There are individuals that will argue a point simply for the sake of winning the argument, even if they realize the other party is right or is providing a superior resolution to the conflict.  Realizing when another individual is more knowledgeable in a situation, or has made a better case for their position, can lead to better overall results for everyone involved.

At the end of the day, using the Accommodating mode successfully comes down to that delicate balance between realizing when it can benefit you and when using it too much will lead to unhappiness and loss of motivation.  Taking the TKI test can give you a better understanding on how much you rely on the Accommodating mode for conflict management.  If you find that you are using this mode too much, or too little, to ill effect, you can take the advice covered in your TKI Profile and Interpretive Report in order to better balance out your use of the different conflict-handling modes.

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