10 tips for conflict resolution

by | Dec 13, 2022 | Conflict Resolution

Dealing with conflict is not easy, so here are a few tips that might help.

  1. Stay Calm – when people are involved in conflict emotions can run high. Staying calm helps the listener to remain neutral and objective and can help diffuse negative emotions.
  2. Confidential – choose a location where it is safe to talk in private. For example, with a workplace conflict, it is advisable – where possible – to hold the meeting off-site, or at the very least out of view and earshot of other employees.
  3. Actively Listen – this may sound simplistic but most people when involved in conflict are only waiting for their chance to speak. Listen closely to everyone and give each person the opportunity to speak.
  4. Separate the Person from the Problem – Look at the behaviour rather than the personalities involved. This is not always easy, but it does help to make the problem more manageable.
  5. Break Down the Issue – Through asking a series of non-judgemental questions, break down the problem into smaller pieces and discuss each of these in turn.
  6. Use Non-Judgemental Language – When people are locked in conflict they often adapt a defensive language and behaviour. By using neutral language this can help reduce defensiveness and resistance to answering questions and open the conversation. Use questions such as: “can you tell me why” or “how did you feel when that happened – these are non-judgemental questions, that can help get to the root of the problem.
  7. Work Together to Move Forward – While this is easier said than done, it is unhelpful to stay in the same position. Once the issues have been identified, it is then time for the parties to look at ways to resolving this dispute.
  8. Agreeing to Disagree is Okay – Each person is different and has their own unique perspective of any given situation. Conflict resolution is not about forcing people to agree on every point. It is about finding a way to work together, despite their differences.
  9. Be Specific – When working towards a solution, be specific. It is not helpful to have vague, commitments or promises. Be as clear as possible and set the agreement down in written form and ensure that each party has a copy.
  10. Evaluate – “Stress testing ” a conflict resolution strategy is a great learning opportunity to assess if the solution has been effective and if it can it be employed throughout an organisation (and become part of company policy)

This article is intended as a general guide only. For individual circumstances, please contact a mediator.

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