What is conflict resolution?

 In Conflict Resolution

What is Conflict Resolution?

coursedetailsThe informal or formal process used by two or more people to reach a peaceful resolution to a dispute can be called conflict resolution. A process where two or more people reach a peaceful solution to a dispute is called conflict resolution.

You will eventually need to resolve conflicts if you work with other people. Sometimes, you will need to mediate between two employees of your department. You may be angry at something your colleague said about you during a meeting. You may also need to resolve conflicts with clients due to missed deadlines. Good conflict management tools are crucial for organisations where conflict is inevitable.

The Conflict Resolution Process

One supervisor might decide to call a meeting between employees involved in a public dispute. A supervisor might suggest that employees meet with someone who is having conflict and work together to find peaceful ways to co-exist.

Interviewing and Active Listening
Human Resources representatives might need to listen attentively and ask questions to determine the nature and extent of conflict between a supervisor or subordinate.

Mediators must also have empathy in order to be able understand the perspective of each side without having to agree with them.

Managers from rival departments may facilitate a brainstorming session with their teams in order to find solutions to conflicting issues. To avoid conflict in group decision-making, you can use group facilitation techniques.

Supervisors might help subordinates in conflict by guiding them through a process that identifies mutually acceptable changes in behaviour.

Creative Problem Solving
To eliminate friction, a supervisor might change the roles of conflict-prone staff. Creativity may also refer to the ability to find win-win solutions.

As part of a performance appraisal, a supervisor might record conflict-initiating behaviour by a chronic complainer. This helps to establish accountability since the employee cannot pretend that the problem isn’t occurring.

Examples of Conflict Resolution Skills

  • A supervisor can summon two employees to discuss a public issue.
  • A human resources representative uses active listening and interviewing skills to determine the nature of conflict between supervisors and subordinates.
  • Supervisors encourage empathy by asking employees who are not in the same position to express their feelings in conflict situations.
  • Managers from rival departments facilitate a brainstorming session together with their staff to find solutions to conflicting issues.
  • A supervisor can help rival subordinates find mutually acceptable changes in their behavior by teaching them mediation skills.
  • A coworker seeks out a rival and suggests that they should co-exist peacefully.
  • A supervisor can foster creativity and problem solving by helping to redefine the roles of conflict-prone staff members in order to remove friction points.

Five steps to resolve conflict

Step 1: Identify the source of conflict

You can resolve the problem more quickly if you know more about it. Ask questions that will help you identify the problem. For example, ask “When did it feel upset?” “Does this incident have a relationship with that?” “How did this happen?” You as a supervisor or manager need to allow both sides to tell their story. This will help you gain a better understanding of the situation and also show your impartiality. Listen to each person and say “I see” or ‘uh huh to acknowledge their information. Encourage them to keep talking to you.

Step 2: Seek out the cause of the incident.

Although the source of conflict may be something minor that happened months ago, the stress level has risen to the point that the parties are attempting to attack each other instead of solving the problem. You can encourage them to look past the trigger incident and find the root cause in the comfort of their office. Again, asking probing questions can help you get them to look beyond the triggering incident and see the root cause.

Step 3: Ask for solutions

The next step after getting the viewpoints of each side is to get them to discuss how they can improve the situation. The goal is to persuade disputants to stop fighting each other and to start cooperating. This means moving the conversation away from finger-pointing towards ways to resolve the conflict.

Step 4: Find solutions that both parties can agree on.

Listening is key to determining the best course of action. You should highlight the advantages of different ideas from both the perspective of each other and the organisational benefits. You might, for example, suggest that there is a need to increase cooperation and collaboration in order to solve problems within the department and team.

Step 5: Reach an agreement

The mediator must get both parties to accept one of the options listed in Step 4. The ultimate goal is to negotiate an agreement. Some mediators even go so far as to create a contract that outlines actions and deadlines.


When two or more people have different goals, opinions or styles, conflict can occur in the workplace. The art of finding common ground to allow everyone to work peacefully is conflict resolution. Sometimes the mediator or neutral party in a conflict is someone who seeks out a solution. Other times they might be an active participant.

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