Conflict resolution in the workplace is essential for newcomers to BC
Here is an article in Psychometrics Canada September issue, we hope you find it useful:
Resolving the Truth between Two People in Conflict
Written by Ralph H. Kilmann, co-author of the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI)
At times when two people can’t achieve a workable resolution to their conflict (whether in their personal or professional lives), I have found it useful to frame the dialogue as resolving different versions of the truth. What really happened; did anything happen at all; and what is the real truth between the different stories and versions of reality? Not surprisingly, I have used the TKI Conflict Model to represent the two different stories of what happened between the two people-and what is really true. One person’s version of the truth is on the assertiveness dimension, and the other person’s version of what really happened is on the cooperativeness dimension. The use of the conflict model suggests five different ways of resolving the two different versions of truth.
I have taken the liberty of temporarily revising the standard labels of the TKI Conflict Model in order to focus on the truth discussion: Maintaining your entire version of the truth over the other person’s claimed story (ordinarily called Competing); Conceding (Accepting) the other person’s full account of what happened, dismissing your own account, and then developing a resolution based totally on the other person’s story of truth (ordinarily called Accommodating); Combining some portion of your version of what happened with a portion of the other person’s story as the basis of resolving the conflict (Compromising); Synergizing the two different versions of truth into an altogether new (transformed) story of what happened between the two people (Collaborating); and Isolating the other person, which then prevents the resolution of truth and hence the resolution of the conflict from ever taking place (the dark side of Avoiding).
This perspective of managing conflict thus takes the stance that truth (what happened and why) is often at the heart of the disagreement. It isn’t possible to move forward and develop a workable solution (including apologies, forgiveness, and acceptance of what transpired, as might be necessary) until some version of truth is accepted by both persons.
Furthermore, the synergizing mode-like the collaborating mode-requires some very special conditions in order for it to do its magic. This often neglected mode on the integrative dimension surely offers the promise of a full-scale, totally accepted, and meaningful solution, based on a whole new version of the truth of what really happened-and why-between the two people.
Some have said, “There are three truths: my truth, your truth, and what really happened.” But if we think of the possibilities for synergy (collaboration) of two people’s versions of reality, it might be easier to realize that some truths are socially constructed anyway…so we might as well negotiate it into something useful and healing.
*Article published with permission from CPP, Inc.
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