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Conflict Resolution Skills

Conflict Resolution Skills

Here are the main conflict resolution skills you need.

  1. Listening skills.
  2. Questioning skills.
  3. Note-taking skills.
  4. Creative problem-solving skills.
  5. Knowledge of your organisation's policies.
  6. Negotiation skills.
  7. Emotional management skills.

Conflict resolution skills are important, because conflicts can result in heavy losses for everyone involved.

To avoid suffering such losses, you need to find resolutions to conflicts, as quickly as possible.

1. Listening skills.

Whenever you are trying to resolve a conflict, the first thing to do is Get the Facts Straight.

Get the facts straight and separate them from the emotions, gut feelings, wild accusations and derogatory opinions.

In order to get the facts straight, you must open your ears and your mind and be prepared to listen, paying close attention to what is being said by each party in the conflict.

2. Questioning skills.

In conjunction with listening skills, you need to develop excellent questioning skills.

Most people don't tell the WHOLE truth about a situation, they tell an edited version of the truth. They don't necessarily lie, but they omit parts. Your job is to discover every relevant fact, and place the facts in order, on a timeline.

3. Note-taking skills.

You won't remember everything you hear, so you need to take accurate written notes of what the conflicting parties say. You should write these notes contemporaneously, or immediately after the conversation. Preferably you should show the notes to the person you are talking to and ask them to sign your notes, to endorse that they accurately reflect what was said.

4. Logical and creative problem solving.

Now you have the information, you must make sense of it. Apply as much logic and creative common sense as you can. Try to figure out what has actually happened and what you should do about it.

5. Knowledge of your organisation's policies.

In order to decide what options are logically possible, you must know your company policies and the laws which apply to this type of situation.

The law and company policy provide the framework within which any solution must fit.

6. Negotiation skills.

When you know what everyone has to say, what you think actually happened and what company policy is, then you need to negotiate the best way forward.

You need to find the middle ground between three fields.

  1. What you want,
  2. What they want,
  3. What is logically, (and legally) possible.

Take a look at this diagram:

Conflict Management and Handling Difficult People : Conflict Resolution Skills

You need to find the solution that fits all three fields.

7. Emotional management skills.

All through this process you will need to manage emotions. Your emotions, and theirs.

Emotions often run high and it is easy for them to get out of control. Bad things happen when emotions get out of control. So, it is important to moderate your language. Insist that they moderate their language.

The same for voice tones and body language. No shouting, No swearing, No pointing.

Keep the emotions under control and try to reason things through to a negotiated solution that is suitable to you, to them, and consistent with the law and organisation.

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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Further Reading in Conflict Management and Handling Difficult People

  • Is the Karpman Drama Triangle Good for Resolving Conflicts?
    The Karpman Drama Triangle represents a commonly used method to resolve conflicts, but is flawed and ineffective. This blog explains what should be used instead to resolve conflict.
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  • Communication and Conflict resolution training
    Communication and Conflict resolution training Conflict at work is inevitable: you are bound to get some. The reason you are bound to see conflict is that people do not have the same ideas: What you think is good: they think is bad. What you think is unacceptable, they think is normal...
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  • Six rules for better conflict management
    Six Rules for Better Conflict Management Are you looking for some ideas on how to better handle conflict and difficult people? If so, I have some good points for you. Over the last ten years, I have taught these ideas to thousands of people who find themselves in conflict situations similar...
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  • How to Deal With Difficult Employees
    Whether difficult employees disagree with our current plan, or their behaviour is challenging, they should be treated according to the principles of reason. We examine the steps that should be taken when dealing with difficult people.
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  • De-escalation Skills
    De-escalation of a difficult situation is vital, in order to avoid it becoming a crisis or conflict. Take a look at these de-escalation techniques you should master that will allow you to take control of a situation and defuse a potential conflict.
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Looking for Conflict Management Training?

If you're looking to develop your Conflict Management and Handling Difficult People Skills, you may find this Conflict Management Training Course beneficial:

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