What Are the Different Conflict Resolution Steps?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

The number of conflict resolution steps involved in a resolution plan may depend on the type of problem and the resources used for solving it. In general, parties can often resolve conflicts in just a few steps. The process typically starts once the parties involved are calm enough to deal with each other without displays of aggression or emotional outbursts, so some people may need some time to calm down before they get started. Each party then may take time to explain his side of the story, listen to the other party’s side of things, and then repeat, in his own words, his opponent’s side of the story. At this point, the parties may work together to reach a solution to which they can both agree and put it in writing.

It is crucial for each person to have the opportunity to tell their side of the story during a conflict resolution exercise.
It is crucial for each person to have the opportunity to tell their side of the story during a conflict resolution exercise.

While people who are involved in a dispute may feel impatient to resolve the matter as soon as possible, it is often much harder to resolve matters while one is feeling angry or frustrated. As such, the parties involved in a conflict may do well to take some time to calm down and cool off before they try to resolve the issue. This doesn’t mean they have to feel entirely free of the anger and frustration before they can try to resolve the problem, but it is often best to move forward when emotions are not raw and new. Additionally, many people are able to see things more clearly after they take the time to calm down.

As part of the typical conflict resolution steps, each party should usually have an opportunity to tell his side of the story in a neutral resolution space and explain why he is upset. It is usually best if wording that seems to attack, blame or shame the other party is left out of the conversation. Many people find it difficult to explain a problem from their point of view without attacking or blaming, so a mediator can prove helpful for ensuring that the discussion does not become too heated and the parties steadily work toward a resolution.

Conflict resolution steps sometimes also include a period in which each party to a conflict restates what the other has said. This does not mean the parties have to agree with each other, but repeating an opponent’s statement in one’s own words may help a person to develop a better understanding of the problem and the opposing points of view. In some cases, it may even allow one or both parties to see a situation in a new light.

Once the parties have discussed their differences, it is typically time to work toward a resolution. Ideally, the solution should be one that satisfies both parties in some way. Mediators often are helpful for assisting parties with creating such solutions. As one of the final conflict resolution steps, the parties may then draft and sign an agreement or otherwise make their agreement official.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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