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Basics Of Conflict Resolution

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Written by   4
1 year ago

Have you ever been in a conflict or an argument?  I'm sure you have. We all have.

However, if we're going to be successful, we need to learn to resolve conflicts.

 First, let’s look at what a conflict is. It is when we have a serious argument or disagreement with another person or people.

 Conflict resolution is a process of resolving a conflict.

Why is it important to resolve conflicts?

Unresolved conflicts can 

(i)   escalate into something more serious.

(ii)  result in violence or war

 (iii)  damage relationships

 (iv)   cause stress

 (v)    make families or organizations dysfunctional.

Four Conflict Resolution Steps

Here are four steps you can take to resolve conflicts.

  1  Stop And Think

 As soon as you notice a conflict, it's important to stop and think. Be aware of what's going on. How you react and what you say will determine whether the conflict becomes worse. Sometimes, a wise choice of words can end a conflict.

Given, it is not easy to stop and think in the heat of an argument. However, it is not beyond you to stay strong, act mature and choose your words. Stay calm and do not fall for the ‘’conflict trap’’.

A ‘’conflict trap’’ is when a person who hopes or wants you to become angry will deliberately provoke you so that you respond angrily. Don't fall for it. It only makes things worse. Just remember, there are people out there who thrive on seeking out conflicts.

2 Redirect The Conflict

 Nothing can be solved until the conflict is redirected into a fruitful conversation. A useful discussion needs to occur before a conflict is resolved. Redirecting a conflict is not always easy, but remaining calm does help. Be polite and tell the other person that you are willing to listen.

 As much as you can, sell the benefits of a calm and dignified resolution of the conflict to the other party.

 Instead of spending energy yelling and shouting at each other, you funnel your energies towards seeking a resolution.

3  Investigate

 Investigate why the conflict occurred. It is very important that you listen to each at this stage. You'll need to find out what is causing this conflict.

 Work closely with the other party and share points of view. The focus should be on the real problem.

 4   Find A Solution

 After you've discovered what caused the conflict, you work together to find a solution. Both of you need to be willing to compromise and stay positive. At this stage, any accusatory language or words will throw a spanner in the works. It is also not the time to make excuses for past actions.

 It is important to keep in mind that openness and compromise are vital in the resolution of conflicts.

What If You Are Unable To Resolve The Conflict?

If you're unable to resolve a conflict, it's important to seek mediation. There are a variety of professionals that can guide you to resolve a conflict. These include lawyers, social workers, church ministers and a host of governmental and non-governmental agents.

The mediator is a neutral party. This is key because the mediator makes no decisions in the name of the parties.

 He listens to them and proposes viable and just solutions for the contesting parties. It is important to emphasize that the mediator does not impose solutions, but he only makes recommendations and proposals.

Qualities of A Good Mediator

 Here are 12 key qualities of a good mediator.

(i)   Good listener

(ii)  Excellent communicator

(iii)  Legitimacy. Must be acceptable to both contesting parties.

(vi)  An even keel personality. They keep emotions out of the process. A very emotional person can make the whole process much worse.

(v)   A very good grasp of the laws and regulations of the area that are mediating in. 

 (vi)  Does not start off with any assumptions.

(vii) An excellent sense of humor.

To some people, this may be a surprise inclusion on the list. However, in some high-tension negotiations, an excellent sense of humor does help. This will work as long as the negotiator knows when to apply the humor and also use it in a manner that does not offend any of the negotiating parties. There is always risk associated with humor, and it has to be managed.

(viii) The ability to establish rules. The mediator must establish clear rules for the mediation to work well.

(ix) Neutrality. He neither judges nor sanctions. The mediator directs a dialogue method to resolve the conflict, he actively listens without issuing a sentence.

(x)  Confidentiality. He respects confidentiality, and he must ensure that both parties respect the confidentiality of the mediation process.

(xi)   Creativity. This is very important for the transformation of the conflict into dialogue. From active listening and documented and verbal proof brought by the parties, the mediator must create options that help resolve the conflict through dialogue. He must be creative and be able to think on his feet. This is really what determines whether a mediator brought value to the process.

 (xii)  Obtaining results. The mediator must provide results, but he must not be the person who solves the conflict.  The conflict must be resolved by the affected people through the dialogue he moderates.


Learning conflict takes practice and effort. What has been outlined here are basic strategies which you can build upon when you are seeking to resolve a conflict.

Sometimes people fail to find common ground despite all the best efforts. It will be time to find a mediator who will be acceptable to both the contesting parties.

Without resolution, a conflict can grow into a huge monster which can be very difficult to control.


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