Conflict resolution strategies and techniques

Conflicts are a part of any human interaction and conflict resolution is what makes relationships resilient. Healthy relationships are born of resolved conflicts, better understanding and the commitment to work through difficulties and problems that arise in the relationship. Unresolved conflicts or problems swept under the carpet do more damage to any relationship than we realise. Conflict resolution is a mutual exercise which calls for team work and concerted action. Though it is often easy to ignore certain problematic issues or put it off until another time in a close relationship like marriage, it is a great recipe for disaster. When problems remain unresolved in a marital relationship they create undue stress emotionally causing much internal turmoil so they are like a simmering volcano ready to explode at any moment.

Conflicts arise when there is a  gap or difference in the values, interests, need or goals of the people involved.   Unresolved conflicts are the result of high expectations, lack of

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healthy communication, poor listening skills, inflexibility and unwillingness on the part of one or both the part

ies to resolve conflicts or just plain ego issues. Without the willingness, commitment and effort from all parties concerned no conflict can be resolved successfully. This is true of conflicts in any relationship whether in a marriage, social setting or at the workplace. The object of conflict resolution should be, to find a workable solution to the problem and not to find fault, fling accusations at each or involve in name calling.

Attitude essential for conflict resolution

A very important fact to keep in mind during the process of conflict resolution is that you are attacking a problem and not a person.  

All activity should be centered around finding ways of working through the problemm and not on negatives. Focus should be on plausible and workable solutions.

Commitment and the real desire to sort out issues is what helps to resolve conflicts

It is important to actively listen while the other person expresses his/her emotions.

The decision to keep accusations and arguments that are emotional in nature out-of-the-way is vital to conflict resolution.

Respecting the dignity of the other all times is an absolute requirement.

When or if a situation gets out of hand it is best to call it off and reschedule to meet at a later time when both parties are more cool and level-headed.

It is important to have a guideline of what can be done and what cannot be done during the conflict resolution process.

How to resolve conflict - strategies and techniques

Conflict resolution is a process that requires patience and clear thinking. The first step to conflict resolution is the ability to state the problem without getting into another conflict. If two people are unable to do that on their own, it would be judicious to have a neutral facilitator, but this should be a person whom both parties can trust and be comfortable with. A clear statement of the conflict would help decide the direction of the action.

Identifying the key conflict areas that are the basis of the conflict is next. While identifying the key issues it is important not to get into too many details but just outline the main problems that need to be sorted out. Having too many issues could cause attention to be scattered and effort to be scattered in too many directions.

Writing down clear cut goals  would keep the task of conflict resolution focused.

Communication needs to be crisp, clear and to the point, stating how the other person’s behaviour affects them.

Active listening is such an important skill in conflict resolution that without it, it is impossible to even proceed to the next level. Active listening entails listening with all your senses, listening to your partner’s emotions, the hurts, the pain, behind the voice. listening to understand and appreciate the other person’s point of view.

Listening to clarify and restate the point so that the other person understands that you have a complete and correct comprehension of his/her point of view.

Maintaining your cool  while listening without interrupting is necessary.

Responding to what the person is saying rather than reacting to emotional stimuli helps sustain progress. Managing emotions effectively is crucial to conflict resolution.

Role reversals could help change your perception of the conflict. Empathy and appreciation for what the other person does could be a positive outcome from this exercise. They could even bring about a change in the way you think.

Brainstorming and lateral thinking to find ways and means of working through the problem to achieve the set goals brings about collaboration and coördination of the parties involved.

Deciding on a mutually acceptable solution is the next step in conflict resolution.  You need to evaluate the merits and demerits of all proposed solutions and decide on one that is workable and pragmatic. Good negotiation and compromise on smaller issues should be welcome as long as both can find satisfying and workable solutions to the problem.

Chart out course of action and stick to it. The finer details of how to go about it needs to be worked out. Flexibility and finding win-win solutions is key to conflict resolution.

A positive attitude free of judgements is required to make the process of conflict resolution work. The ability to stop seeing the conflict as a problem and start seeing it as an opportunity for  better understanding, coördination and coöperation will change the way you see things and make the whole process enjoyable.

Knowing when to  withdraw or walk away should be your last resort.

Issues in marriage are opportunities for self-improvement and better relationship.  It is a time for retrospection and self-examination. They are glimpses into people minds and emotions, helping us to see the different facets of the person and understanding people for who he/she is. Conflicts are not necessarily bad times, they are opportunities for growth and change of climate in a marriage. Conflict resolution is a great people skills that all of us would find invaluable as we often come across these situations in our everyday life. This skill of conflict resolution can be sharpened and honed to make life more easy and meaningful.