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I will begin by saying a few words about the avoiding mode, which is positioned at the very bottom-left corner of the TKI Conflict Model. Avoiding represents the combination of low assertiveness and low cooperativeness—neither attempting to satisfy your own needs nor attempting to satisfy the other person’s needs. But an important distinction is to be made between good avoiding and bad avoiding (also referred to as effective avoiding and ineffective avoiding, respectively).
Good avoiding is when you purposely leave a conflict situation in order to collect more information, wait for tempers to calm down, or conclude that what you first thought was a vital issue isn’t that important after all. Bad avoiding, however, is when the topic is very important to both you and the other people involved in the conflict (and to the organization) but you aren’t comfortable with confronting them. Instead, you’re inclined to sacrifice your needs and their needs—which undermines your self-esteem, leaves you perpetually dissatisfied, and prevents you from helping the others.
Bottom line: Only avoid when that approach to conflict serves to truly benefit you as well as others—whether in the short term or long term. But don’t avoid people or situations simply because you don’t like conflict or are reluctant to receive what you need and deserve. With awareness and practice, combined with assertiveness and cooperativeness, you can easily learn to get both your needs and other people’s needs met—for all the right reasons.
All text and illustrations in this publication Copyright © 2009–2011 by Kilmann Diagnostics. All rights reserved. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and MBTI are registered trademarks of the MBTI Trust, Inc. The TKI and CPP logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of CPP, Inc.
Ralph H. Kilmann, Ph.D., is CEO and Senior Consultant at Kilmann Diagnostics in Newport Coast, California. Formerly, he was the George H. Love Professor of Organization and Management at the Katz School of Business, University of Pittsburgh—which was his professional home for thirty years. He earned both his B.S. and M.S. degrees in industrial administration from Carnegie Mellon University (1970) and a Ph.D. degree in management from the University of California, Los Angeles (1972).
Ralph is an internationally recognized authority on systems change. He has consulted for numerous corporations throughout the United States and Europe, including AT&T, Kodak, IBM, Ford, General Electric, Lockheed, Olivetti, Philips, TRW, Wolseley, and Xerox. He has also consulted for numerous health-care, financial, and government organizations, including the U.S. Bureau of the Census and the Office of the President. His professional biography is profiled in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World.
Ralph has published more than twenty books and one hundred articles on such subjects as conflict management, organizational design, problem management, change management, and quantum organizations. He is the developer of the MAPS Design® Technology and coauthor of several diagnostic instruments, including the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument and theKilmann-Saxton Culture-Gap® Survey.
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