Three Steps to Conflict Resolution

Most of the time, individuals do not have a great understanding of conflict and what exactly the definition of it is. When it comes time to resolve any issues that are either new or ongoing, it is very common for us to shy away and not want to face the problem head-on. In this case, there is no such thing as resolution- because nothing ever gets resolved. In any given challenging situations that require extra attention, it is necessary to understand that proper conflict resolution involves three important variables; it is about knowing how to actively listen, how to understand and acknowledge the “real” issue and finding ways to seek a common solution.

The first most essential piece of the puzzle is learning how to actively listen. Many would say that they already know how to actively listen to those who are communicating with them. During a time of conflict, most people are either too frustrated to even give others the time of day, or are focused on other things as an avoidance technique. If you truly want to get anywhere in the conflict resolution process, you must recognize your actions and conclude whether or not you are just listening, or if you are doing it actively. There are three steps in the active listening process which will improve listening skills if used and implemented appropriately. First off, the use of non-verbal messages is very important when displaying to whoever you are discussing with that you are interested in what they have to say. These include eye contact, an alert expression, nodding of the head, and a slight forward lean of the body. These will all express that you are listening and interested. Cues or invitations can also be used and are very effective. These include phrases such as “Okay”, “Yes” and “Go On”- all of which signal our attention and will invite an individual to continue talking comfortably. Last but not least, clarification of what has been said is very important. We can do this in one of several ways: by asking questions, summarizing what has been said, or paraphrasing the message in your own words.

The next step towards conflict resolution is developing an understanding and acknowledging the real issue that you are experiencing – personally or professionally. It is not uncommon for humans to think that they are upset about one thing, and then realize that the real problem is hardly related to what they thought at all. There may be deeper-rooted issues that have been buried for so long, that other smaller issues have begun to cover up the real issue at hand. It is important to understand what the issue is, when it started and what feelings and emotions came along with it at the time. By identifying the real issue, all parties will be able to understand more fully why there is conflict occurring and how it can be properly dealt with.

No matter how stubborn some of us may be, if we are trying to resolve an issue with others, we are not going to be completely satisfied with a solution that only benefits ourselves. In order to walk away from a situation having everyone mutually content, a common solution must be achieved. No good can come from a “temporary” fix to a problem. The whole meaning of resolution is to actually resolve a problem and not let it be swept under the rug. In order to build solid relationships for the future, any and every conflict that arises should result in a common solution that will evenly satisfy all parties. This will prevent future issues from escalating, and will leave everyone with a confident feeling of knowing how to pursue an agreeable process in order to achieve a favourable end result.

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