8 Rules for Conflict Resolution

Business woman wearing boxing gloves


Whether at work, at home or among friends, conflicts are bound to happen from time to time. While conflict is a natural part of interacting with other people, knowing how to effectively resolve the conflicts that arise doesn’t come as second-nature to many people. When handled appropriately, conflicts can encourage growth and learning and inspire much-needed change. When handled incorrectly, however, conflict can create bigger problems that can be difficult to resolve. Below are eight rules of conflict resolution that everyone should learn.

8. Identify What The Conflict Is Really About

Two business women arguing


Before you engage in an argument with another person, take a step back and consider what, exactly, is really upsetting you. Is the person’s tone offensive? Is the disagreement interfering with your ability to do your job properly or having an impact on other relationships? Pinpointing the reason for the conflict is necessary in understanding how to resolve the problem effectively. It can also help you identify whether you’re upset because you simply don’t like the person, or because something she’s doing actually impacts your life negatively in some way.

7. Identify Your End Goal

Two women talking in an office


What do you want to see happen as a result of this conflict? This may seem like an easy question, but really think about what a resolution would look like to you. Would you be happy with a compromise, or do you feel you need to persuade the other person to see things your way entirely? Pinpointing exactly what your end goal is will help you develop strategies to help you reach that goal. If all you want is to be heard, state your case and end the conflict. If what you want is compromise, construct an argument that will move the conversation in that direction. Regardless, knowing your end goal is an essential piece of the puzzle when dealing with conflict.

6. Keep Emotions In Check

Woman looks upset while man sits in the background


Emotions can run high during conflicts, especially in the heat of an argument, but arguments fueled by strong emotions are rarely effective. In fact, saying or doing things based on how you’re feeling can lead to irrational outbursts and saying or doing things you don’t really mean (or don’t want to say or do). If you’re feeling like your emotions are taking over your logic, your best bet is to step away from the conversation for a few minutes, until you’ve had some time to think through what you want to say. Only go back to the discussion once you feel you can continue the conversation in a way that will move things forward toward your end goal.

Kara is more than just a do-it-all writer; she's also a jetsetter who has experienced cities and cultures around the world! Find Kara on LinkedIn!

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