The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI®) tool is the world’s best-selling tool for helping people understand how different conflict-handling styles affect interpersonal and group dynamics—and for empowering them to choose the appropriate style for any situation.

The TKI tool assesses an individual’s typical behavior in conflict situations and describes it along two dimensions: assertiveness and cooperativeness. It provides detailed information about how that individual can effectively use five different conflict-handling modes, or styles.

The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI) has been used for 40 years to assess how individuals respond to handling conflicts, based on the research of Kenneth W. Thomas and Ralph H. Kilmann. This assessment shows how an individual’€s unique style of handling conflicts affects his or her ability to communicate and work with others in business, social, and family situations across two dimensions -€ Assertiveness (unassertive to assertive) and Cooperativeness (uncooperative to cooperative).

Results of this instrument will show an individual’€s strengths in terms of five possible styles of handling conflicts:

  • Competing: An individual is assertive and uncooperative, choosing to emphasize his or her own goals at the expense of others.
  • Collaborating: An individual is both assertive and cooperative, attempting to find a solution to conflict that will be mutually beneficial to both entities.
  • Compromising: An individual is in the middle of the road in terms of assertiveness and cooperativeness, suggesting a resolution that is partially satisfying to both parties but is less comprehensive in considering possible solutions.
  • Avoiding: An individual is both unassertive and uncooperative, completely ignoring or withdrawing from conflicts or uncomfortable situations.
  • Accommodating: An individual is at the opposite end of the spectrum from competing, suppressing or neglecting his or her own needs in order to satisfy others.

The TKI, which takes about 15 minutes to complete, presents 30 pairs of statements for comparison. Individuals are asked to choose between the two statements, and results will provide insight into their own behavior and that of co-workers, team members, family, and friends. Understanding this behavior and learning when – and with whom -€ to use each style leads to effective management through comfortable and satisfying resolution of conflicts; stronger team building and team performance by learning how to work through conflicts to reach common goals; and charismatic leadership by understanding how to relate with and motivate staff and co-workers.