Are Your Conflicted? (6-steps to conflict resolution)

Conflicts can occur in all levels of human interaction; between individuals, in families, workgroups, and in society as a whole. Sometimes even a small conflict can cause great heartache and interfere with your ability to move forward with your goals.

There are many reasons why conflicts occur, different goals, values or interests, misunderstanding of situations, unsatisfied needs and depression are a few examples. Living with unsolved conflict takes energy and may cause even more conflict. Carrying the burden of an unresolved conflict can cause even the closest relation to feel divided.

To openly accept conflicts takes courage. If a conflict is accepted and solved, the result is better understanding of the thoughts, feelings and needs of the individual, family member workgroup or community, and can result in more openness, creativity and community.

The best method for effective conflict resolution is open / direct statements, and active listening. It is important to develop trust and respect for each other’s needs and be open to new facts. The most important thing to take into any conflict resolution is patience. Not everyone receives information the same or expresses his or her emotions the same. BE PATIENT!

Here are six steps for conflict resolution:


  1. Identify and define the problem: Describe the problem in ways which are not based on critique or disdain. “I” statements are the most effective way of formulating a problem. This means that you start with your own feelings and ideas. Be an active listener, let other people state their views, try to understand your opponent, and ask check questions to ensure that you have not misunderstood something. Understanding the views of your opponent can cause you to see the problem in a new way. But do not suppress your own feelings. If you do not say what you feel, your opponent may not be motivated to resolve the problem. Ensure that your opponent understands that you have to find a resolution which satisfies both needs – a solution where no one is a loser, a so-called win-win solution.
  2. Propose different solutions: It is not always easy to immediately see the best solution. Ask your opponent to start proposing solutions – you will have time to propose your ideas later on. Employ active listening techniques and respect the ideas of your opponent. Try to list several different solutions, before evaluating and discussing them.
  3. Evaluate the different solutions: Be frank and critical, use active listening.
  4. Making a decision: A common agreement on a solution is necessary. The solution must be specified in such a way that both parties understand it. Do not try to persuade or press your opponent to accept a certain solution. If your opponent is not able to freely select a solution, which he or she can accept, there is a risk that nothing is improved.
  5. Carry out the solution: Immediately after having agreed on a solution, it is usually necessary to discuss how to implement it. Who will do what, and when? If your opponent does not adhere to what you have agreed on, you should confront them with “I” statements. But do not again and again remind your opponent of their tasks – this will cause them to rely on your reminders instead of taking own responsibility for their own behavior.
  6. Perform a follow-up evaluation: Sometimes, you may find that there are weaknesses in the solution. Both parties should be willing to revise decisions, but this should be done together, not by one of you alone. You have to agree on all changes to the solution – just as you have to agree on the original solution.

Try these steps to resolve the conflicts in your life. Stop wasting energy on conflicts and  start moving forward with your goals.


About Gayle

Gayle is a Social Media Enthusiast and Consultant with Biz Buzz Social Media Marketing; co-owner of Glynne's Soaps; a dalmatian rescuer; genealogist and member of the Daughters of the Revolution (DAR) and of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC); a Cubs Fanatic; hopeful bagpiper; purveyor of positive; and a curious seeker of life.
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