Any group of people that has to cooperate and interact regularly runs into conflicting situations now and then. It is a normal part of human communication and the majority of conflicts can be fully settled through two or three steps – but proper steps. Where to learn these steps? Any conflict resolution trainings that are worth their money will teach you these skills because all conflicts follow the same routes. It does not matter if you are a parent conflicting with the school authorities, a person dealing with a family-splitting debate, or a manager who has to pacify the enraged employees. Approaches and toolkits are the same.
Resolving a conflict is only one fragment of a bigger picture that includes a conflict itself, signs of its emergence, its development, informal and formal ways to solve it, and ultimate outcomes (from successful settling to firing the conflict instigator). So, to be able to resolve a conflict properly, one has to be equipped with a multitude of skills, soft and hard. Empathy and attention will help to detect trouble while it is still young, and knowledge about conflicts and their causes may help find the best way to deal with a problem at hand.
Why solve the conflict if you can walk away from it?
Successful conflict-solving helps you better understand “them”, their concerns, values, and essential interests. Settling the conflict lets you maintain constructive and friendly relations with opponents instead of turning them into your eternal enemies. Finally, a conflict consumes valuable resources, from time to hard-earned reputation, so settling the dispute means saving these resources for more productive tasks.
That’s how democracy works: all are involved, all have their say, all need to give up something for the greater good, and if the solution is right, everyone benefits. That’s why conflict resolution trainings are so popular and are required as an obligatory part of education for diplomats and business negotiators.
Conflict Resolution In Social Settings
- Explore the conflict and its underlying implications. You have to understand your own interests (they are wider and more flexible than direct demands). You have to understand the interests of your opponents. You need to envision the possible solution and have a person who may intervene to legitimize that solution if you run into the dead end. What we mean: if you say one thing and the opponent says another one, you need a playbook and a mediator. The playbook stands for legislation, written standards, or precedents that can justify what you – or the other side – say. A mediator will be able to cite this playbook without biases or preformed opinion. Yes, that sounds complex, but good conflict resolution trainings can explain it in detail, and this trick with a mediator is worth knowing.
- Communicate efficiently. Talking all the time or listening to one side is not communication. Ensuring everyone can say something is.
- Solutions should be offered by all people involved. Brainstormed, put forward, and discussed. Not imposed from above. Remember about democracy.
- Agree upon the best solution.
- Be ready to enlist the services of a mediator.
- Have the plan B and alternatives if the conflict gets destructive.
- Detect and counter the pressure and unfair tactics.
Getting Prepared: Going Through Conflict Resolution Trainings
If you wonder if you can cope with everything mentioned above, let us assure you – you can. Even the best pro has begun the career path as a rookie, and the knowledge you need is widely available. With proper training and some practice, you will face conflicts big and small with confidence. Just be sure to acquire the valuable skills well in advance.