Conflict resolution is important for all organizations.
In this lesson, you will learn what conflict resolution is and some of its techniques and methods.
What are Conflict Resolution Skills?
Conflict resolution is the process by which two or more parties engaged in a disagreement, dispute, or debate reach an agreement resolving it. Several skills are needed for you to resolve conflicts in the workplace effectively.First, you need to be able to view the problems and issues from multiple perspectives and possess strong problem-solving skills. Also important is the ability to empathize, meaning that you’re able to perceive and understand the feelings and emotions of others. Active listening is another skill important for you to have, which is a listening technique that requires you to provide feedback to the person to whom you are listening by restating or paraphrasing what someone is communicating to confirm your understanding.When resolving a conflict, you also need to be able to control and manage your emotions; use and interpret nonverbal cues; and think critically and objectively.
Finally, it’s very important you can compromise, which refers to the willingness to concede something in exchange for an opposing party’s concession.
Conflict Resolution Techniques and Methods
While there are numerous models, techniques, and methods, all can generally be placed into one of a few approaches. These are: third-party intervention, unilateral decision-making, and joint decision-making.Third-party intervention involves seeking the help of a third party to resolve conflicts. Professionals that help resolve conflicts include mediators, who help guide the disputing parties to a resolution; and arbitrators, who act like a judge and issue a decision that is imposed on disputing parties to resolve the conflict. You don’t need to use a professional to arbitrate or mediate a dispute; you can seek the help of co-workers or supervisors to serve as arbitrators or mediators.
Finally, courts can also be used to resolve disputes.Another approach is to try to resolve your dispute all by yourself, which is a technique called unilateral decision-making. You can act unilaterally in three different ways. You can attempt to force your will on the other party, forcing the other to yield to your position.
You can do the opposite and yield to the will of another, letting him win the dispute. Finally, you can refuse to play and simply avoid the dispute, which, of course, really doesn’t solve anything.The final approach is joint decision-making, which is an attempt to reach a joint decision with the other party to end the dispute. This may involve compromising where each party makes certain concessions, meaning each gives up something to get something they want. Sometimes you can even find a solution that lets both sides get all of what they want if you can both think creatively enough.You should note that these three techniques are not mutually exclusive. They can be used in sequence, such as starting with force, moving towards joint decision-making, and then moving to a third party intervention with a mediator or arbitrator.
Moreover, it’s possible that parts of the dispute may be resolved using different approaches. For example, some aspects of the disputes may be able to be resolved unilaterally, and some may require joint decision-making.
Let’s review what we’ve learned. Conflict resolution is the process of settling a dispute, disagreement, or other conflict between two or more parties. Useful skills for conflict resolution include the ability to view problems and issues from multiple perspectives, solve problems, empathize, listen actively, manage emotions, think critically, and compromise.Three general techniques used to resolve conflicts include third party intervention, unilateral decision-making, and joint-decision-making.
Third-party intervention involves seeking the help of a third party to resolve conflicts; it utilizes mediators, who help guide the disputing parties to a resolution, and arbitrators, who act like a judge to issue a decision. Unilateral decision-making is when you resolve the problem yourself by forcing, yielding, or avoiding, while joint decision-making is attempting to reach a joint decision with the other party to end the dispute.