3 Skills You Need to Resolve Your Next Conflict

Conflict resolution is never easy work. One wrong move can trigger the fault lines in an already complicated relationship. On the other hand, nothing good comes of allowing an unresolved problem to fester. Finding common ground is a must, even when it’s difficult or painful. We’ve provided resolution practices for both internal and external affairs so that you can be ready to handle any conflicts that come your way.

Seek First to Understand
“Good Leaders Ask Great Questions,” a book written by leadership guru John Maxwell, lays out the foundational concepts behind any effective conflict resolution session. Ask questions. If communication is a two-way street, then conflict resolution is a highway. Asking a great question starts the flow of communication. “Why?” is often the easiest and best question to start with.

“Five Whys” by Sakichi Toyoda is a method that you can use to untangle any issue. According to this principle, you can get to the heart of the matter within five times of asking why. Understanding and articulating the core of your issue will help you create a win-win scenario.

Create a Win-Win
In a win-win scenario, your conflict is resolved in a way that satisfies all involved parties. Ensure a win-win by taking these steps.
• Acknowledge the issue.
• Find common ground.
• Understand all sides.
• Attack the issue, not the person.
• Develop a mutual plan of action.

Compromise Is Key
Most conflicts come from emotional wounds, and those wounds need to be healed. The only way to truly find a solution for both parties is to find mutual compromise. If you are coming from a place of understanding and working toward a win-win, then compromise is a natural stepping stone to conflict resolution. If you aren’t, compromise may just be a way to put a patch on the problem instead of actually solving it.

Successful conflict resolution resides in these three ideals, and all of them require emotional intelligence. A certain degree of self-awareness and empathy is the foundation of finding solutions. When these traits are combined with understanding, an effort to find a win-win situation, and willingness to compromise, you’ll find your conflicts resolved in an effective, equitable manner that will maintain relationships for a lifetime.