What are the Conflict Resolving Skills as per Psychologists?

Conflicts occur when people (or other parties) perceive that, as a consequence of a disagreement, there is a threat to their needs, interests or concerns.

Disagree over their values, motivations, perceptions, ideas, or desires.

According to Thomas & Kilman, “Conflict situations” are those in which the concerns of two people appear to be incompatible.


Thomas & Kilman Conflict Resolving Skills/ Styles 

Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilman (1970)– styles of dealing Resolving Conflicts with the scheme is based upon the two separate dimensions-

1. Cooperation (attempting to satisfy the other person’s concerns)

2. Assertiveness (attempting to satisfy one’s own concerns):

 As per Thomas & Kilman above two dimensions can  be used to define five different modes for responding to conflict situations:

1.Competitive– Assertive & uncooperative. an individual pursues his own concerns at the other person’s expense. This is a power-oriented mode in which you use whatever power seems appropriate to win your own position—your ability to argue, your rank, or economic sanctions. Competing means “standing up for your rights,” defending a position which you believe is correct, or simply trying to win.

2.Accommodating– unassertive and cooperative. It is opposite of competing. The individual neglects his own concerns to satisfy the concerns of the other person; there is an element of self-sacrifice in this mode. Accommodating might take the form of selfless generosity or charity, obeying another person’s order when you would prefer not to, or yielding to another’s point of view.

3.Avoiding– Unassertive and uncooperative. the person neither pursues his own concerns nor those of the other individual. Thus he does not deal with the conflict. Avoiding might take the form of diplomatically sidestepping an issue, postponing an issue until a better time, or simply withdrawing from a threatening situation.


4.Collaborative– Assertive & cooperative. It is opposite of avoiding. Collaborating involves an attempt to work with others to find some solution that fully satisfies their concerns. It means digging into an issue to pinpoint the underlying needs and wants of the two individuals. Collaborating between two persons might take the form of exploring a disagreement to learn from each other’s insights or trying to find a creative solution to an interpersonal problem.

5.Compromising– intermediate in both cooperativeness and assertiveness. To find mutually acceptable solution that partially satisfies both parties. It falls intermediate between competing and accommodating. Compromising gives up more than competing but less than accommodating. Likewise, it addresses an issue more directly than avoiding, but does not explore it in as much depth as collaborating. In some situations, compromising might mean splitting the difference between the two positions, exchanging concessions, or seeking a quick middle-ground solution.

Tips for managing and resolving conflict-

Managing and resolving conflict requires emotional maturity, self-control, and empathy.

It can  be tricky, frustrating, and even frightening.

You can ensure that the process is as positive as possible by sticking to the following conflict resolution guidelines:

1.Make the relationship your priority.

2.Focus on the present

3.Pick your battles.

4.Be willing to forgive.

5.Know when to let something go.

Fair fighting: Ground rules

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Express feelings in words, not actions.
  3. Be specific about what is bothering you.
  4. Deal with only one issue at a time.
  5. No “hitting below the belt.“
  6. Avoid accusations
  7. Don’t generalize.
  8. Avoid “make believe.“
  9. Don’t stockpile.
  10. Avoid clamming up.
  11. To check your understanding of the top[ic take this short test
    Click here for MCQ test on Conflict Resolution



Take the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI) Take this assessment tool and discover which of the five conflict modes you might be using too much or too little… or just right


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