How to resolve conflicts: (Strategies, techniques and conflict resolution skills)

How to resolve conflicts: (Strategies, techniques and conflict resolution skills)

Last updated on April 16th, 2021 at 02:44 pm

Where ever there is a human interaction, conflict is an obvious outcome. And often we struggle to figure out how to resolve conflicts, though we know the conflict resolution is the only approach.

Conflicts occur almost everywhere. We experience them very often in any social settings, workplace and in family relationships. 

The sources of the conflicts may be many. However, if we do not recognize the signs in the earlier stage, those misunderstandings evolve and ruin the entire relationship or organization. Therefore, it is essential to master the conflict resolutions, strategies, techniques and conflict resolution skills are must to handle any conflict.

So,

What is conflict?

Definition of conflict: According to Follett, Conflict is the appearance of difference. Differences of opinions, views and interests.

Why do conflicts occur?

In general, conflicts occur in the workplace or in relationships. They often arise between two or more people who possess different temperaments. And have variance in their negotiation approach to solve a particular problem or even face difficulties to come to a definite agreement. The main reason behind conflict is the miscommunication of each other’s motives.

And also there are broadly many causes that lead to conflicts, as follows:

4 main causes of conflicts:

  • Lack of clarity: Which leads to poor communication and poor emotional intelligence.
  • Lack of clear jurisdiction: Due to lack of role clarity, poor management, poor leadership.
  • Personality differences: Which leads to conflicts of interests, stress and misunderstandings.
  • Changes within the environment: Leads to incompatibility with one another, lack of role 

Related: How to get motivated: A complete guide to motivate yourself all the time.

How to resolve conflicts?

In times of heated debates and arguments, knowing how to handle conflict and being unaffected by the odd behaviour of others is an impressive skill. Although, conflict cannot be avoided. Yet, one can manage the situation by empathizing with the peer or partner or opponent. That can be achieved by self-awareness with a sense of control over oneself.

How to resolve conflicts in the work place?

Working together is not always easy. Especially when people come from different backgrounds, race and culture. Their individual differences to  incompatible relationship leads to miscommunication. Whenever conflicts arise

Take your goals into consideration by aligning with the companies values rather than personal beliefs. Ask –

What are my personal goals and organization goals?

How important it is to me and as a team to achieve these goals?

However, not everyone possesses such innate talents. Therefore, researches suggests that one can learn to deal conflicts by developing one’s cognitive, emotional and behaviour skills. There are conflict styles, strategies, techniques, conflict management and conflict resolutions. By mastering these skills one can create a peaceful environment and resolve any type of conflicts.

Conflict management:

What is conflict management?

Conflict management also called as conflict resolution. However, it emphasizes on delivering tools to control conflict. Conflict management minimizes the negative outcomes of conflict and promotes the positive outcomes of conflict with the goal to improve better understanding between individuals or whole organization or family.

Conflict resolution:

What is conflict resolution?

Conflict resolution focuses on contributing creative solutions through resolving conflict effectively. It involves in the termination of any type of conflict completely in any field.

5 Conflict resolution skills

  • Emotional Intelligence skills: Emotional intelligence is the key to understand yourself and empathize how others feel. When you know yourself better about your feelings, you will be able to communicate your emotions to others so effectively without creating any misunderstanding.
 
  • Effective Communication skills: Communication and conflict resolution always go in parallel in the workplace. In order to avoid the conflicts you need to improve your speaking skills and non-verbal communication such as behaviour, gestures, eye contact and facial expressions.
 
  • Self-awareness skills: Self-awareness is more than just having empathy. It is about knowing yourself completely including your weaknesses, strengths, pain points. When you are aware of yourself, you will take conscious choices and make effective decisions. And also you will be able to manage your stress well. Which is very important in the workplace or in your personal life.
 
  • Analytical reasoning skills: In times of debates, arguments or miscommunications instead of feeling offended and taking everything personally, you need to apply logic and analyze the situation from an intellectual perspective rather than victim or bully. For that analytical reasoning is an essential skill for conflict resolution.
 
  • Negotiation skills: No matter how effective you are about feeling others emotions; and how much you care for others; they will hurt you and misunderstand you anyway, if you do not be precise in your words. Use words of affirmation when you express yourself and improve your negotiation skills by being a good mediator.

5 Conflict resolution stategies

  • Avoidance: If the matter is not that important ignoring the situation and moving from the conflict is the wise choice. It saves your energy and keeps your mind at peace. Some problems or conflicts resolve themselves if we just give it a time. If not solved, you can approach to solve it with a fresh perspective.
 
  • Accommodation: If you concern more about maintaining the relationship, then the best strategy is to accomplish the specific goal with interaction. Support your partner and treat them in such a way that they understand you care for them. This helps to manage your conflict instead of building a resentment between each other.
 
  • Competition: If your personal goals are more important, achieve your goals at all cost. Competing is a forcing strategy in which relationships should be sacrificed sometimes at least for a certain time until the misunderstanding clears.
 
  • Compromise: Just understand that certain goals are not as important as the relationship itself. Give up on certain mundane tasks. Make priorities by realizing when to fight for your cause and when to compromise, in order to get to an agreement and achieve harmony. This strategy is so effective temporarily, when both the parties are in comparable level and in stress.
 
  • Collaboration: Collaboration is by far the best win-win strategy. It involves in efforts, commitment and excellent empathizing skills. When collaborating, relationships are maintained well with mutual understanding. This strategy produces the satisfying solutions. Although, it requires plenty of time and energy.

6 Steps for conflict resolution:

  • Step1: Acquire Clarity – When you know the in and out’s of the problem, the better it will help to resolve conflicts. So, focus on secure clarity in the first step.
 
  • Step 2: Establish mutual goals – Knowing individuals task and approaching them to connect with each other’s goals can mutually benefit with the less amount of conflict involvement. As everyone will be benefited by the small and effective tasks.
 
  • Step 3: Consider attainable options – Be sure to make use of available options rather than fighting for the best tools that are beyond your reach and budget.
 
  • Step 4: Understand the barriers – The important step in resolving conflicts is to understand the limitations of the process, individual knowledge and the imperfections of the organization. Become better at understanding the barriers then analyze the whole situation to minimize the conflict.
 
  • Step 5: Reach the best alternative – If the ideas were burned out and the available options are outreached then look for the best alternatives to deal with the conflicts.
 
  • Step 6: Ensure implementation – After following the whole process by managing each step with the analysis and other possible approaches at the end step, at any cost try to ensure implementation and reach the end goal before deadline.

9 Conflict resolution techniques

  • Team building:  The best technique for conflict resolution is team building. Great teams can be built by setting clear objectives, developing shared goals, establishing norms, analyzing progress, clarifying expectations and meeting deadlines with the strategic plan.
 
  • Diversity training: In a team or workplace if diversity training implements then the outcome would be individual will grow as a person along with the better understanding of the peers. Implementing self-awareness training reduces discrimination. 
 
  • Open communication: Taking feedbacks of the team regularly and planning staff meeting very frequently with the employee surveys leads to better working environment. Where open communication and free speech inspires to come with the best ideas.
 
  • Conflict management training: Handle conflicts constructively by listening actively, by communicating assertively and by solving the problems collaboratively. This technique helps to understand the peers perceptions and ideas clearly without any conflicts.
 
  • Resource Allocation: In order to accomplish an activity, allocate resource with an economic and productive methods for better conflict resolution.
 
  • Resources in project management: In managing the project resources, Focus on budgeting, tools, space, time, technology, people and equipments. Taking all these resources into consideration help in reaching the goal effectively with the common understanding.
 
  • Manage other’s expectation: Knowing peers capabilities, working efficiency and collaborating behaviours can guide you many things to know about them. So managing other’s expectations from the beginning itself helps for conflict resolution. Especially when no knows how to resolve conflicts.
 
  • Communication and conflict: When our expectations do not meet the specified goal. There emerges a sense of frustration and disrespect and disregard from the peers. So, communication and conflict always go hand-in-hand.
 
  • Focus on others: Showing your ideas are superior can motivate others to be defensive. Instead of using self-promoting language, at, first consider other’s benefits. Focus on other’s self-interest. That will appeal and be accepted by others. Then there will be no need to think of how to resolve conflicts in the workplace.
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10 Tips for maintaining conflict:

  • Accept conflict: Appreciate differences and accept the conflict.
 
  • Be calm: Instead of reacting to every negative word and misunderstandings, just be aware of your position. Just observe and give it a time rather than loosing your words. The more you argue, the less effective the conflict’s outcome will be. So choose to be calm.
 
  • Listen Actively: Focus on other’s needs, listen carefully by developing the sense of empathy.
 
  • Analyze the conflict: When goals are really important, at first, give priority to the problem and later on people by analyzing the conflict thoroughly.
 
  • Use your words Consciously: Speak only when your words add value to the mutual communication. Attend meetings only when you have something idea to convey. Otherwise, don’t waste your time. This also helps in not creating any extra conflict, if you don’t attend at all.
 
  • Work together: Together is always better, if both the parties have better self-awareness, empathy and communication skills. Choose your team effectively and work together for better results.
 
  • Share your interests: Exchanging ideas when it matters the most creates a good environment. Share your interests then they will share theirs. In such a way both will be able to understand each other better. This can help to manage the conflicts well.
 
  • Be creative with your specific conflicts: If conflicts occur, then approach them to solve with a new perspective instead of traditional thinking. Be creative with your problems. Creative solutions will emerge.
 
  • Focus on achieving a common goal: Focusing on common goals creates a win-win strategy and needs fewer efforts than working individually. Share your each other’s motive, plan and work on it mutually.
 
  • Avoid conflicts: Act fast and resolve quickly by realizing when to avoid and when to be in charge.
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Do and don'ts of conflict resolution

Do's

  • Do act as partners.
  • Do cooperate with each other.
  • Do analyze the problems of conflicts to resolve.
  • Do focus on Win-Win Strategy and be each other’s cheer leader.
  • Do empathize complementary needs.

Don'ts

  • Don’t see as opponents.
  • Don’t attack and defend.
  • Don’t react negatively and shutdown the relationship.
  • Don’t be selfish to take all credits by focusing only achieving your goal.
  • Don’t focus on conflicting needs.

Conflict resolution: Insights on how to resolve conflicts

Final Thoughts:

Conflict always happen and often results in significant damage and cost for individuals and companies. Although often avoided or poorly managed, Studies shows the skills for effective management of conflict can be improved by learning. Many evidences assure when conflict is successfully approached, and multiple benefits accrue to the organization and individuals as well.

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