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Monday, 07 February 2011 08:56

Should you be Accommodating?

Written by  Margaret Meloni
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cover_tki_LThe Accommodating Mode is one of the modes of conflict resolution as defined by the TKI or Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument. The TKI breaks our conflict handling preferences into five modes.

Some people view being accommodating as a sign of weakness. If you always accommodate others around you then perhaps you are exhibiting a weakness. A weakness in your conflict resolution skills because this means you are always being very unassertive. You might even neglect your own concerns to satisfy the concerns of others. This could be self-sacrificing, but it can also be selfless generosity or charity or obeying orders when you would prefer not to. Other than charity or obeying orders, is there any other time when drawing from this mode is desirable? Absolutely, please read on.

Scenario – You have been leading your team in some brainstorming sessions on how to resolve a difficult issue for a customer. You have brought a solution to the table and the team is moving forward with it. But in the midst of planning how to implement this new solution a team member comes up with an approach that is better. Your idea is good and would work and you have already spent time and energy planning it and you are the boss. Still… you can see this suggestion is better and so can the group, how would you handle this conflict?

If you naturally draw from accommodating mode – You are in your sweet spot, because this is the best approach for this type of conflict. Accommodating is also the exact opposite of competing, you don’t insist on your resolution. Accommodating is perfect when you need to yield to a better position.

In this situation accommodating provides these benefits:

  • You support the individual with the best approach
  • You are also supporting your customer by providing them the best possible solution
  • You are building social capital or what I call credits by showing that you are capable of seeing someone else’s idea as the better idea and of letting go and moving on with the best approach.
Using competing or avoiding or collaborating or compromising are not your best approaches. If you use competing mode you will try to force the group to use your solution. This will cause hard feelings and will not generate the best end result. If you avoid the suggestion of the new approach, the team might walk away and not know what to do or try the new approach behind your back. You don’t need to try the collaborating mode, the fact that you were in a brainstorming session implies collaboration. Now it is time to move forward with the better solution. You might find yourself trying to negotiate a solution that uses part of your approach and part of the new approach (compromising). This makes no sense; you have a best approach on the table, use it.
Great so how?

Concede Gracefully – Do this in a mature manner. Don’t be unprofessional or a sore loser. Explain your motives; in this situation be honest, “I want us to go with this other approach because I can see that it is truly the best approach. I am happy that John Doe brought this solution to the table and let’s go for it!” (Note – This is where it is the most difficult for you if your natural style is to compete, so this will take practice.)

In this scenario there is not much else you need to do, but since accommodating can also be used when you know you are going to be outvoted or you need to back down or you can see that this is more important to others – let’s cover the behaviors you would need for those situations.

After you concede, plant seeds. This means if you were trying to convince people to make a change and it just did not fly and you still feel the need to keep pressing, you want to lay the groundwork for future success. You need to educate people about your approach and give convincing facts and statements that support your position.

If you are accommodating to help clear hard feelings (another reason why you might choose to accommodate) then you might need to understand and satisfy a complaint about your behavior or why someone has those hard feelings. In this case you need
to accept anger (but not abuse), explain what happened without being defensive, use active listening and when appropriate offer an apology and/or some other type of appropriate reparation.

There really is a time and a place when each of the different conflict resolution modes should be employed. The more you learn about those modes and how to channel them, the easier it will become for you to deal with conflict.

Read 6373 times Last modified on Monday, 07 February 2011 15:47
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