Conflict Management – Assertiveness

When to be Assertive?

The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI) and training has been used for over four decades by millions of peopleConflict Resolution Without Fighting to support more productive conflict resolution for leaders, teams, negotiations, crisis’, as well as marriages and families.

The TKI assessment is a leading measure of conflict handling behaviours, identifying individuals’ approaches in dealing with interpersonal conflict. There are five primary approaches to handling conflict, and most people have one that they use most often. All conflict handling approaches are valuable when the right skills are applied during the right situation.

In today’s post, the benefits and costs of the conflict approach of ‘competing’ will be highlighted. In addition, tips will be provided on deciding what the right situations are to use the conflict approach of ‘competing’.


Being Assertive and Competing

The conflict approach of competing is defined as being high in assertiveness and low in cooperation, where the intent is to satisfy your own needs. This approach is best to use in the following situations:

  • Taking quick action
  • Making unpopular decisions
  • Standing up for vital issues
  • Protecting yourself

The benefits to this approach include:

  • Asserting your position
  • Possibility of quick victory
  • Self-defense
  • Testing assumptions

The costs to this approach include:

  • Strained relationships
  • Suboptimal decisions
  • Decreased initiative and motivation
  • Possible escalation and deadlock

When deciding when to be assertive and compete, here are the recommendations of when competing is most effective:

  • When you know you’re right.
  • When unpopular actions need to be taken.
  • When quick, decisive action is required.
  • Where you’re under attack.
  • When consensus fails.
  • When people are too considerate.

For more information on the TKI assessment and conflict management and resolution training, please check out our Making Conflict Productive training program or contact Hone.

Please also check out our future blog posts for information on the other four conflict handling approaches.

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