Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Thomas-Kilman Conflict Mode Instrument - Crafting Characters #AtoZChallenge

By Rhalden at Wikimedia Commons
Thomas-Kilman Conflict Mode Instrument

Here is the mission statement from Kilmann Diagnostics :
"KILMANN DIAGNOSTICS is an e-learning organization that's dedicated to resolving conflict throughout the world. We pursue this vital mission by providing a series of online courses and assessment tools that integrate the wisdom of conflict management and change management. 
Based on Dr. Kilmann's four decades of research, teaching, and consulting experience, conflict and change are intertwined through a carefully orchestrated sequence of eight tracks for quantum transformation: cultures, skills, teams, strategy-structures, reward systems, and three process improvement tracks."

OK.

The TKI posits 5 conflict behavior styles:  competing, avoiding, accommodating, compromising and collaborating.  These styles are determined by varying degrees of assertiveness or cooperativeness which you assign to pairs of statements on a test.

OK.

Simply put, when we are in conflict with others we attempt to satisfy our own needs, and/or the needs of the other, to varying degrees.  No one handles conflict the same way every day, but most of us have an overall pattern.  The TKI tries to identify your particular "go-to" pattern.

Conflict is essential to a good story.  Perfect relationships put me to sleep.  They never, ever fight? Quarrels are resolved in two minutes with a kiss and "honey, I love you"? Oh come on.

Characters who are unceasing jackasses also bore me.  No one is a jerk 100% of the time.  (I know someone will point out that I'm wrong in the comments section.  Just don't use names, please.)

Use minor conflicts to round out your characters.  How do they handle a snarky teenager, an irritating neighbor, an interfering co-worker, a tailgater on the freeway?  Conflict, by the way, is a golden opportunity to utilize humor and wit in your writing.

Have you ever had a quarrel or heated argument, gone home and spent the next two hours conjuring up all of the brilliant retorts and barbs that you couldn't think of at the time?

Yeah.

Me too.






17 comments:

  1. Makes sense that everyone has a "go to" pattern. After reading the choices, I may have a different pattern for different people :) Helpful information when shaping characters reactions. Thanks for the info and thanks for stopping by my blog.

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    1. I think everyone varies a bit according to the situation, but most people have one pattern which is stronger. I believe that you can also recognize and change your pattern. I used to be a typical "avoidance" type; I would do just about anything to duck confrontation of any kind, or attempt to placate others when I should have stood up to them. I still tend to avoid, but am getting better at compromising instead.

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  2. I love the pic: butting heads just the perfect fit. Not every conflict has to be huge to propel a story/character. And...ONLY two hours? ;)

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    1. Yeah. I pretty much move on after that. Although there are 1 or 2 events in the distant past that I still turn over in my mind once in a while. :-)

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  3. Some people also do anything they can to avoid conflict....

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    1. Yeah, that used to be me. And often, those are the types of people who end up in abusive relationships of one sort or another and get taken advantage of.

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  4. Who hasn't?
    That would be an interesting test to take.

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    1. Good to know I'm not alone. Fortunately, as writers we can utilize our "late" but witty retorts in dialogue. :-)

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  5. I never think of the thing I should have said until hours later. :/

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  6. It's a good thing with writing I have those hours.

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    1. True. Some of my missed opportunities reappear thru character dialogue. Not as satisfying as real life...but almost.

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  7. I usually go back home and reflect on all the things I ought not to have said, lol

    Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2014, My Latest post

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge

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    1. Hmmmm...come to think of it, I do that too sometimes.

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  8. Chatting monkeys in my head for a couple of days afterwards. Nice to meet and connect through Atozchallenge http://aimingforapublishingdeal.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Only a couple of days? Lucky you! :-)

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  9. Exactly. Perfect relationships are boring. I recently read a book where the three main characters not only never argued about anything, but were always on the exact same wavelength. Instead of coming at things from different viewpoints, at best one of them would arrive at a conclusion moments before the others. They were basically one character split into three. Bah.

    The story's concept was just enough to keep me interested, but still... Fight, damn it!

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    1. Totally agree. I like nothing better than reading a good verbal fight or dialogue between characters with opposing views.

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