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Practice Makes Perfect in Conflict-Handling Situations

Apr 18, 2014 in CPP Connect | 1 comment

Written by Pamela Valencia, Solutions Consultant, CPP Professional Services How do you develop skill in recognizing which TKI conflict mode or modes are appropriate for a given situation? It’s a two-step process: assess the situation, then practice using the TKI conflict mode that makes the most sense.   The next time you are watching a movie or attending a meeting (at which the topic or decision is important), take a moment to observe what is happening through a TKI lens. You will see a back-and-forth flow and ebb of different styles and modes. A great example of conflict management appears in the film Apollo 13. There is a clip on YouTube—“Failure is Not an Option”—that illustrates several conflict modes. One of the engineers is using the competing mode effectively (when you know you are right). The other uses accommodating as he acquiesces to another’s persuasion, then shifts his style to collaborating as he attempts to merge insights from diverse perspectives.   Let’s take a look at the five modes and when they are likely to be most effective.   Competing is best used when you know you are right and a decision needs to be made (even though it may be an unpopular course of action). This mode is the one least concerned with relationships, so use it sparingly. It requires the user to have skills in being persuasive, being fair, and balancing tough-mindedness with support. To be persuasive, it’s important to explain your motives, to be specific and credible. If these skills sound familiar, being on a debate team has probably set you up for success with this mode.   Collaborating takes time and willing participants. It is best used when merging diverse perspectives is important (especially when concerns are vital to an organization) and you need a commitment to a decision or to working through a relationship. The skills for collaborating are setting the right tone when raising the issue (right time, benefits of a solution) and knowing the difference between a concern and a position. It’s important to stay flexible, especially when looking at solutions. When collaborating in a group, think abundance versus scarcity—of ideas, information, goals, and alternatives. Even if the leader steps in to make a decision instead of reaching group consensus, team members will have had a chance to share, ask, or speak about concerns.   If competing and collaborating haven’t worked, there...

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Conflict-Handling Intent & Behavior: Who’s the Bad Apple?

Apr 16, 2014 in CPP Connect | 0 comments

Written by Pamela Valencia, Solutions Consultant, CPP Professional Services A really great booklet on conflict is Introduction to Conflict and Teams by Kenneth W. Thomas and Gail Fann Thomas. It takes that deeper dive into the perceptions of the TKI conflict modes—how we view the different modes and how others may view us when we use our preferred modes. Let’s look at some general behaviors associated with each mode, as described in the booklet.   Competing is looking at trying to win, and competitors tend to view conflict as a contest between opposing positions. They tend to be candid, tough-minded, and passionate about their convictions. If you were in a conflict over an apple with a competitor, and the competitor truly felt that the apple belonged to him, he might bite into it and take a piece out to claim it as his own.   Competitors like to make things happen and will take the lead if there is a need for quick action—for example, in a crisis situation. This mode is assertive and uncooperative, and because of this, competitors need to guard against monopolizing, not listening, exaggerating, and attacking. People with other conflict styles may see competitors as closed-minded, unfair, rash, and/or insensitive. It is important to remember, however, that competitors can be powerful advocates, willing to face facts and say what needs to be said.   Collaborating is looking for a win-win solution. Collaborators view conflict as a problem to be solved and want to bring in others to find a creative solution. This mode is both assertive and cooperative, so collaborators’ challenges tend to be overanalyzing, bringing in too many people, and wasting time fruitlessly problem solving or seeking consensus.   People with other conflict styles may see collaborators as naïve, impractical, intrusive, and/or demanding. Collaborators build on others’ ideas and listen well, and look for value in what others say. They often take the time to navigate negative feelings within a team. If you were in a conflict over an apple with a collaborator, she might try to figure out a way that you both could have access to more apples, thereby averting future conflict.   Compromising is looking to find a middle ground, and compromisers tend to view conflict as a way to be reasonable. When I think about this mode, I immediately think “half an apple.” It is the quick way to solve...

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Returning to Work: Enhancing the Relationship with Self and Others

Apr 10, 2014 in CPP Connect | 0 comments

Many find that the experience of serving has altered their work goals and aspirations and, in addition, that the world of work or the career they left behind has changed. Here are 10 tips to help you make the most of reentry into the civilian workforce.

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Tennis Balls, Hula Hoops & Conflict Modes

Apr 7, 2014 in CPP Connect | 1 comment

Written by Pamela Valencia, Solutions Consultant, CPP Professional Services Identify your preferred TKI conflict mode(s), then identify whether these preferred modes are effective for you in most situations in your current environment. Are you getting the results you want? A few years ago, TKI (Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument) practitioner Lynne Brown shared with me an exercise she uses to introduce the TKI conflict-handling modes. The exercise demonstrates the conflict modes in action. The exercise requires five hula hoops and 30–40 tennis balls. You arrange four hula hoops on the ground, one at each corner of an imaginary 25-foot square. Then place the fifth hoop in the middle of the square (imagine the dots on the “five” side of a die). Put all the tennis balls inside the middle hoop. Divide the participants into four teams as evenly as possible. Ask each team to choose  one of the outer hoops and go stand next to it. Explain the objective: The team that ends up with all the balls in its hoop wins. Go! I have done this activity several times, and each time I have seen all five of the TKI conflict-handling modes played out in the groups. Here are examples of how the modes play out: Some individuals step away from the chaos that ensues after the game starts, not wanting to be involved (avoiding). Others attempt to hide tennis balls in their clothing, seeking to win (competing). Some attempt to create an alliance with another team, agreeing to share equal amounts of the balls (compromising). Some assist another team, believing that the other team has the best chance of winning (accommodating). Others try to form a strategy that allows everyone to win—by stacking the hula hoops on top of each other (collaborating). The TKI assessment helps participants identify which conflict modes they use in the conflict situations they face. The conflict modes are wonderful in a sense because they are about skill and situation. You are not limited to one unless you limit yourself. Some people do limit themselves because they have had previous success using one conflict mode, or because of how they were raised and which mode was considered acceptable in their culture. Understanding all the conflict modes helps you add to your bag of tools and choose which tool or tools will be most effective (although not necessarily the most comfortable to use) in different...

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Four Tips for Better Conflict Management

Mar 26, 2014 in CPP Connect | 1 comment

Conflict is not always pleasant, but that doesn’t mean that explaining it can’t tale a slightly lighter note. Take a look at the below video for a 3 minute introduction to what conflict is, where it comes from, and four tips for better conflict management through the TKI – the Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument. Contest: Do you recognize the voice in the video? Hint – he works at CPP, Inc. and if you’ve ever called customer service, you’ve probably talked to him! The first person who can correctly name the voice in the video wins a prize from CPP! Enter your answers in the comments section below. Ready to buy the TKI for your team or company (and mitigate those office-supply-throwing fights)? Head over to the TKI Product Page on CPP.com. TKI Frequently Asked Questions: Do I need to have a special certification to use the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument? This easy-to-use tool requires no special training to administer and interpret. There is no certification or educational eligibility requirement, so you can purchase and begin using the TKI assessment with your clients immediately. Watch the video here!...

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Attend Canada’s Premier MBTI® Event

Mar 18, 2014 in CPP Connect | 0 comments

Do you want to learn powerful new strategies from today’s leading MBTI type authorities? By attending the Myers-Briggs® Professional Development Conference—October 29-30 in Toronto, you’ll discover how to leverage the power of type to make a real organizational impact. This event has an assortment of engaging sessions with topics ranging from leadership development, conflict management, and communication to emotional intelligence, type dynamics, and stress. So what are you waiting for? Get more expert type knowledge by registering today! Early bird rates available until March 31. Click here for...

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But If You Try Sometimes, You’ll Find You Get What You Need

Mar 6, 2014 in CPP Connect | 0 comments

Written by Pamela Valencia, Solutions Consultant, CPP Professional Services Developing skills to work effectively and to appreciate the interpersonal needs of others without ignoring your own.   Our interpersonal needs do not define us but rather help us understand our reluctance or motivation to behave in certain ways. We can always choose how we want to proceed or react to a situation, and developing the skills to realize what works for both ourselves and others, our leaders, or the team is important. At the very core of people’s interpersonal needs is the need to be accepted, respected, and appreciated by others, and everyone has this need met in different ways.   If your interpersonal needs are low, chances are that you don’t feel a strong pull to be around others. Intellectual stimulation, activities you do alone, and privacy are probably more important to you. If your interpersonal needs fall more in the medium range, your interaction with others may sometimes be a source of satisfaction, but it will depend on with whom and the context of the situation.   One of the benefits for those of you who fall into one of those categories is that you probably add value to your team and organization through the work you do on your own as an individual contributor. And although you may tend to be a private person, you may interact with a select few people whom you’ve come to trust and whose opinions you value. Additionally, while you probably prefer to work alone much of the time, you may welcome certain opportunities to present your work to or to discuss it with people who can truly understand it. Likewise, in public situations you are more likely to contribute if the topic is directly related to you or your acknowledged expertise—otherwise, you may not volunteer.   It is important that you think strategically about taking care of your needs, while at the same time demonstrating to others that you are cooperative, that you can be a part of a group or team. If you are working with a group, consider setting up your workday so that you have sufficient time for thinking and planning. It is also important to be able to clearly communicate your need for private time (whether as part of your work life or your home life), maybe arranging it for a certain time each day so...

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What Do You WANT From Me? How Understanding Motivation Can Lead to More Effective Behavior

Feb 28, 2014 in CPP Connect | 0 comments

Written by Pamela Valencia, Solutions Consultant, CPP Professional Services Like most people, throughout my life I have seen relationships that work and others that don’t. When they don’t work, often it’s because people’s interpersonal needs are not being met or they are in conflict. For example, if someone has High Expressed Control and Low Wanted Control and is working with someone who has the same interpersonal need, someone is not going to get to express control at the level he or she wants. At the same time, one person may be expressing control much more than the other person wants. The challenge is when people don’t understand what is motivating their behavior or the behavior of another person. Why is this important? Seeking to understand that motivation can assist an individual in choosing more effective behavior.   Let’s take a look at two sets of interpersonal needs on the same team. One person (A) has Inclusion scores of High Expressed and High Wanted. Another person on the team (B) has Low Expressed and Low Wanted Inclusion. The impression created may be that person A (High Expressed Inclusion) is engaging, connected, humorous, and social, while person B (Low Expressed Inclusion) comes across as private, selective, quiet, and difficult to know. Person A (High Wanted Inclusion) may be deeply affected by rejection , experience being away from the group as missing the action, and perceive lack of acknowledgement as negative. For Person B  (Low Wanted Inclusion), on the other hand, invitations to “join the group” may seem obligatory, being singled out may come across as negative, and collaboration may feel like a time waster. Why? The reason might be because those interpersonal needs want to be met on different levels. Low Expressed and Low Wanted Inclusion can also mean that the individual is highly selective about who he or she wants to meet this need. Person B may only want to be included in groups in which her supervisor is involved (for example). So if one person wants that inclusion and the other person considers it unnecessary, it may be a challenging work environment, especially if one person takes it personally.   The same can be said for the interpersonal need for Affection. Let’s look at High Expressed and High Wanted Affection. People with these scores are probably seen as open, optimistic, friendly, and providing praise and support to others. They...

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Why’d You Do THAT?! Understanding Interpersonal Needs & Motivations

Feb 26, 2014 in CPP Connect | 0 comments

Understanding personality type helps us see how our minds are wired—how we like to get energized, take in information, make decisions, and orient ourselves to the outer world. Understanding interpersonal needs gives us insight into another aspect of our personality—what motivates our behavior in regard to how much interaction we want with others.   For example, we know that people who prefer Extraversion are energized by the outer world of people and things, but what if they have low interpersonal needs? How they express their Extraversion will “show up” differently compared to Extraverts who have high interpersonal needs. Interpersonal needs add another unique dimension to who we are and why we do the things we do.   Based on the research of Will Schutz, PhD, the FIRO-B® instrument was created to assess interpersonal needs. The theory is that beyond our physiological needs—for food and safety, for example—we each have interpersonal needs—for Inclusion, Control, and Affection—that strongly motivate us. Unlike personality type preferences, which, according to Jung, are hardwired at birth, interpersonal needs are developed throughout our lifetime, based on our experiences, culture, values, and so on. As Schutz explains, everyone has the desire to express Inclusion, Control, and Affection, as well as to receive these from others.  These interpersonal needs are ranked low, medium, or high depending on the strength of the desire to get them met.   Knowing about interpersonal needs gives us a better sense of why we seek out or avoid certain situations, as well as why we seek to be “satisfied” or to have those needs met.   Inclusion, sometimes called Involvement, is about the need to belong. The desire to be recognized, to be a part of the group, is Wanted Inclusion. It could be a work group, a book club, a family circle, a sports team (or a group that watches a particular sport), a volunteer group, or even an organization. The other side of this interpersonal need is Expressed Inclusion—the drive to include others, to decide who to include.. For some, Inclusion is not a strong motivating factor, while for others it is very important.   Control, sometimes called Influence, is another interpersonal need that may motivate an individual’s behavior. How important is it to you to be in charge or to not be “managed” in any way? The need to lead, influence, provide structure, make the decisions is Expressed Control. Wanted...

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Understanding Team Relationships & Myers-Briggs Conflict Pairs

Feb 18, 2014 in CPP Connect | 0 comments

Written by Pamela Valencia, Solutions Consultant, CPP Professional Services (If you didn’t get a chance, read Part I of this post or Part II of this post to get the full picture.)   The Role of Conflict Pairs In their research, Damian Killen and Danica Murphy determined that where people focus their attention in conflict and how they respond to conflict are best represented by the last two letters in their four-letter personality type code—their “conflict pair.” There are four different conflict pairs: TP, TJ, FP, and FJ. In our example team (see graphic below), only two of the conflict pairs are represented: TJ and FJ. Our conflict pair provides insight into what likely causes conflict for us, our desired outcome, how we tend to deal with our emotions during conflict, and what we see as a successful outcome. For people with the conflict pair TJ, challenges to/of authority can propel them into a conflict situation. Such challenges can take many forms and may be interpreted as disrespecting their authority. TJs need closure and tend to deny their emotions to the point that they burst out, causing them to quickly shift from easygoing to intense and seemingly angry. They tend to be aggressive in their approach but want a way forward. Once closure is achieved, they can walk away from the conflict situation satisfied.    For people who have the conflict pair FJ, conflict is not easy because their ultimate desired outcome is intact relationships. They react when there is a challenge to/of beliefs. When dealing with conflict, FJs want to include emotions as part of the dialogue. They seek communication and harmony and pick up on conflict easily, striving to make sure that there’s no lingering bitterness.   I was recently in a conflict situation with a person whose type preferences are ISTJ. When I was unable to fulfill a request for ethical reasons, the request came back as a directive. I recognized this aggressive tactic as one commonly associated with the TJ conflict pair. (Keep in mind that not all TJs manifest this conflict behavior because as we become more self-aware, we can choose our behavior instead of simply reacting in the most comfortable way.) Understanding this conflict pair response helped me not personalize the conflict and instead enabled me to step out and recognize the situation for what it was. Once the situation was resolved to mutual benefit (and ethical compliance), agreeableness was restored to...

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