Updated: Mar 31
DO YOU AGREE with this statement below?
"Being able to solve conflicts peacefully is one of the greatest strengths we can give our children." -- Fred Rogers
Conflict resolution is a skill that benefits not just children on the playgrounds or at home but also professional across all types of career paths.
Understanding how to deal with conflict, reconcile emotions and reach an understanding are valuable practices that boost well-being and productivity.
What is CONFLICT RESOLUTION?
Conflict resolution is the process of ending a dispute and reaching an agreement that satisfies all parties involved. Since conflict is an essential part of being human, conflict resolution is not designed to avoid disagreements. Instead, conflict resolution skills are used to facilitate discussions, increase understanding and control emotional responses.
Some of the most common cognitive errors that lead to unproductive or unresolved conflict include:
Self-serving fairness interpretations – This term refers to the process of one or more parties deciding what is “fair” from a biased point of view. In conflict resolution, you’ll learn skills that help you discuss conflict from a more neutral stance.
Overconfidence – Overconfidence when arguing or disputing a matter can lead to undesirable outcomes. While overconfidence in a personal disagreement may simply cause embarrassment, this cognitive error can be even more detrimental when dealing with legal issues—particularly when you are ill-prepared for the argument at hand.
Overconfidence also prevents one or more parties from seeing the other’s perspective, which is an issue that conflict resolution aims to resolve.
Escalation – Escalation tactics can prolong a dispute for longer than necessary, thus making an agreement even more difficult to reach. In a personal dispute, escalation may involve one party raising the stakes of the argument, or bringing in additional issues that exist outside of the situation at hand. In legal terms, escalation refers to increasing charges or spending more money on litigation.
Avoidance – Avoidance is the practice of circumventing conflict. Examples of avoidance may include bottling up emotions, changing the subject when an issue is brought up, or physically leaving the situation altogether.
Blaming – Blaming refers to the tactic of one or more parties ridding themselves of responsibility for a disagreement—thus placing all the faults on the other party. When blaming is used during a conflict, it can be difficult to get both parties to agree on how they played a role in the situation. When one party looks down upon the other from an inaccurate moral high ground, a real resolution is virtually impossible.
Emotional volatility and insults – Finally, we have one of the most common and destructive cognitive errors found in conflict resolution: emotional volatility, often expressed through insults.
When one or more parties resort to inflicting emotional (or even physical damage) on the other party, the chances of reaching a calm and reasonable agreement decrease drastically. Not only does emotional volatility make for a hostile discussion environment, but insults can also lead the other party to withdraw entirely.
How does conflict resolution WORK?
Conflict resolution techniques commonly used in conflict resolution situations include:
💙 Active listening: Active listening refers to the practice of focusing on what the other party is saying, then including their message when making your own statements. Having active listening skills not only facilitates discussions and increases understanding, but also allows each party to feel heard.
💛 “I” statements: “I” statements are used to prevent blaming and unfair accusations when arguing. This is because each party may feel like the other has done something, but they cannot prove this to be true. Instead of claiming that the other party acts or feels a certain way, instead, the party will approach their statement by speaking from their own experience.
💙 Emotional regulation: Emotional regulation is used to prevent volatility and insults when managing and resolving conflict. By leaning on emotional intelligence and putting the right expectations in place, and utilizing anger management skills, both parties can reach an agreement calmly without letting emotional reactions influence the outcome.
💛 Communication: Effective communication skills are the foundation of conflict resolution. Not only does clear and proper communication help resolve personal and professional problems, but it can also prevent similar situations from happening in the future.
💙 Assertiveness: Although it may seem counterproductive, reasonable levels of assertiveness can be beneficial when performed calmly. This is because assertiveness pushes people to address their feelings and voice their expectations of the other party, rather than avoiding conflict altogether.
💛 Apologizing: When necessary, the final step to conflict resolution is knowing when to apologize. It’s important to note that successful conflict resolution will bring both of the involved parties to fully understand what they’ve done and why an apology is needed—rather than simply going through the motions to end the conflict.
Why is Conflict Resolutions important?
The benefit of conflict resolution are many:
🤝 Building Relationships
Personal and professional relationships can often suffer from unresolved arguments. If two or more parties struggle to resolve their conflict, these feelings may lead to explosive behaviors and resentment later on.
Communication, emotional awareness and empathy are crucial elements of conflict resolution that can lead to high-functioning and more satisfying relationships in all aspects of life. Rather than simply dismissing a relationship after a rough patch or argument, conflict resolution techniques can help you strengthen these relationships and prevent these issues in the future.
🤝 Goal Achievement
Ongoing conflict may stand in the way of completing goals, particularly in business relationships. When arguments arise in the workplace, productivity typically declines. It can be difficult to focus or work together on a project when underlying conflict is present. Resolving these issues at the root can lead to greater efficiency and goal achievement.
In order to pass personal and professional milestones, it’s important to utilize conflict resolution skills—particularly the ability to compromise, negotiate and move forward after a disagreement.
🤝 Enhancing Commitment
Conflict resolution can help bring people together once an issue is put to rest. One of the most important elements in conflict resolution is choosing to tackle problems as a team, rather than attacking each other. This technique is a wise way to enhance each party’s commitment to the process, and avoid greater feelings of defensiveness.
While conflict can be destructive, it can also be a sign of strong commitment and emotional attachment. By working with these feelings, each party can gain a better understanding of one another’s goals and lead to greater dedication and loyalty moving forward.
🤝 Generating New Insight
Resolution is important, but so is conflict in itself. When people have differing perspectives, this can open the door to new ideas, innovations and ways to solve a problem.
Proper conflict resolution skills are designed to keep disagreements from escalating while continuing to discuss each point of view and eventually reach a collaborative conclusion. By using conflict resolution skills, you’ll be better equipped to learn from and teach others in both professional and personal realms.
How to polish your Conflict Resolution skills?
Empower Empathy is designed exactly to sharpen many of these prosocial skills. It specifically focuses on emotional intelligence areas like growth mindset, prosocial skills, emotional awareness, and self-regulation.
It allows children to play their way and resolve different conflict-filled scenarios that often occur in their real lives. It uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Play Therapy strategies to help both children and adult to sort through their thoughts, feelings, and actions appropriately in these common social issues. These scenarios are perfect "rehearsals" for children to step into the shoes of another and to prepare ahead of the time when real-time issues do arise.
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