What is Conflict Resolution & Why is it Important?

We are bound to face conflicts. For that reason, the need for conflict resolution, whether it is at home or at the workplace, is critical. Conflict resolution is vital regardless when and where it is utilized because it allows us to stay consistent with our relationships. Conflict resolution enhances commitment and brings new insights among opposing perspectives from the people around us.

Conflict resolution is used to settle disputes and disagreements. It facilitates a conversation that reaches the goal of emotional understanding among everyone. The essential characteristics that an individual should have during conflict resolution are good communication and emotional intelligence. However, the ability to resolve conflict is just as important as recognizing when needed.

What are the signs that we need to resolve the situation?
Remember that we are all different. Therefore how we show distress during conflicts may be different. Below are some common and earliest signs that conflict resolution might need to be utilized.

In the workplace it can be shown as:
– Disengaged or dysfunctional meetings
– Slowdown in productivity
– Poor performance level
– High employee turnover
– Avoidant body language
– Clique formation
– Repetitive disagreement

In the home, with family and friends, it can be shown as:
– Passive aggressiveness
– The issue frequently occurring
– Tense conversations
– Inability to share true feelings
– Avoidant body language

Regardless of how somebody might portray their disagreement or distress, the over-arching sign that we need to recognize is their demeanour. Essentially, if people act unusual compared to their normal behaviour, we may need to step in and ask what is wrong. Sometimes we get the “gut feeling,” where we sense something is “off” and out of the ordinary. In those instances, trust your instinct. If you feel like someone is avoiding you or a particular topic, chances are, you are right.

To help with conflict resolution, below are seven strategies that you can consider to help resolve a conflict at home or at work:

1. Address the problem in a private place.
Always make sure that you and the person or people you are discussing with are in a safe place, where only the people involved are present. There is no need to make a public scene about the problems you and the other party are facing. If you are resolving conflict at home, make sure you go to a private room, away from the rest of your family members. You can pull your co-worker aside or hold a team meeting if the conflict involves a big group. Doing this lets the other people know that you respect them and their right to privacy. It also makes everyone more comfortable to open up to each other when everyone involved can be addressed in the same room.

2. Be clear about the issue.
Do not let yourself or anybody get caught off guard by their emotions. Remember to remain calm and adequately get your message across. Constantly check up on everyone to know if they understand what you are saying and allow them to share their thoughts on the problem. This is not a time to be passive-aggressive and give sarcastic remarks. This is the time where everyone has an equal opportunity to share what it is that is truly bothering them. Make sure to keep the conversations respectful and in a calm manner.

3. Negotiate & compromise.
Bring everyone to an agreed solution. Whether you are at home or work, do not pick sides. Talk to all parties and come to a harmonious conclusion on how to mitigate the problems. If you could apply the above strategy, this step should occur naturally.

4. Avoid overconfidence and intimidation.
Do not let your ego get in the way. Everyone should actively listen and empathize with the opposing side during conflict resolution. There should not be a “he said, she said” or “I’m right, you’re wrong” battle going on. Everyone’s mind should remain open to receiving feedback. Always remember that nobody should be blamed. Choosing someone to blame adds fuel to the fire, resulting in havoc. Converse with everyone openly and without bias.

5. Be honest about your shortcomings.
In addition to not letting your ego get in the way, practice apologizing for any of your shortcomings in the situation or incident. Chances are, you could have played a part in the conflict. And when they say you have, do not try to argue your way out – simply say sorry and move on.

6. Actively listen to all parties.
Active listening is the crucial factor to ensuring conflicts get resolved. Be sure to acknowledge what the other person has to say and offer your empathy towards them. Do not condemn them for their mistakes, and do not continue to think of them in a bad light. We can all change over time. We can all get rid of the bad traits we carry, whether at home or in the workplace. The essence of conflict resolution is reaching harmony with everyone involved.

7. Have clear intentions for strategies in the future.
Once you have discussed and shared your thoughts, make sure to reach a conclusive resolution and strategies to prevent the same conflict from occurring again. This would be an excellent time to set boundaries with the people involved and remind everyone what their role is. If you are resolving conflict at home, make sure to show affection in your intentions. And if you are at work, make sure to show respect in your intentions.

Conflict resolution is essential in building stronger relationships with the people around us. It is the foundation of trust and respect and can ultimately improve everyone’s communication skills. The key to conflict resolution is recognizing when it is needed and knowing the strategies to guide you through it. Remember to keep your communication respectful and show empathy when listening to others.