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Conflict & Assessments

How the Myers Brigg Type Indicator (MBTI) interacts with the Thomas Kilman (TKI) Conflict Mode Instrument

You are most likely familiar with the MBTI,  an assessment tool that measures enduring psychological types (extroversion–introversion, sensation–intuition, thinking–feeling, and perceiving–judging; ST, NT, SF, NF)  There is also an assessment tool in the conflict world that gauges our tending behaviours when in conflict, the TKI.  These five behaviours are referred to as Competing, Accommodating, Avoiding, Compromising and Collaborating.  (View more information of these conflict styles here)

The MBTI is a measure of our ingrained personality traits, or how we see and interact in the world and the results often remain the same throughout our life.  This assessment tool is utilized in the workplace to assist groups and individuals to understand differences.

The TKI analyzes behaviours and is used to assist groups and individuals to help resolve differences.  We can employ the TKI to build awareness around behaviours in conflict to generate changes in our reactions to conflict Unlike our personality traits, sometimes these behaviour changes can happen very quickly.

The MBTI reveals the fundamental differences among people while the TKI provides the fundamental ways of resolving those differences. There is a huge benefit to integrating these two assessment tools as together they can provide more information on our conflict responses. According to a paper by Ralph Kilman, author of the TKI our personality type as shown in the MBTI  predisposes how we behave in conflict situations.

As an example, if you are very strong on the MBTI ‘thinking’ preference you tend to fall into the TKI ‘competing’ behaviour category. You will likely be more able to think through how to complete your goals without empathy for the other person playing a major part in your decision.  If your MBTI results were weighted in the ‘feeling’ area you will be more inclined to the ‘accommodating’ type behaviours as indicated in the TKI.  You empathize so strongly with the other person you want them to have their needs met above yours. If you scored high on ‘extroversion’ you tend to ‘collaborate’ more as you like to connect and engage with people.  The ‘introvert’ may tend to ‘avoid’ as it takes too much effort to interact with others.

Once you know your psychological preference you might be inclined to use certain modes when managing conflict.   Again this awareness assists in supporting us to adjust our behaviours in conflict. As a ‘thinker’ you want to step back and realize that you need to work with others to ensure that their needs will also be met.  An introvert can muster that additional energy in situations that are important to them to engage with others to ensure their own needs will be met.

So to see and manage the big picture we can make effective use of the four MBTI groups and the TKI behaviours for building awareness in workplaces.

The Workplace Fairness Institute has launched a Workplace Fairness Ombuds office to assist Canadian Organizations in the management of workplace conflict.

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