There are many strategies we recommend when it comes to conflict resolution. We explore those in more detail here.

However, in this post, we want to dissect five practical steps to guide you through this difficult time whether the conflict is your own or you need some assistance with resolving something on behalf of others.

It goes without saying, if you need a resolution formalising it is worth contacting a solicitor who can help you do that to ensure you and your requirements are adequately protected. In a professional capacity, you should also involve your HR team.

Step 1: Separate The Problem From The People

Before you discuss any issues it’s a good idea to note down your thoughts and what your ideal result after a conversation would be.

By doing this it helps to remove some of the emotion and enables you to see the wood for the trees. What is helpful for all parties to understand is that although issues may seem personal they usually revolve around something practical. Whether you are struggling to agree on arrangements with an ex-partner or having difficulty with a work colleague, prior to any discussion write your issues down and ensure they’re not direct personal observations. This will ease negotiation and make all involved less reactive when face to face.

Step 2: Clarify Perceptions In A Safe Environment

When you do decide to discuss your problems with the other people involved, try to choose a location to meet that is neutral for you both. This means neither of you will feel you have the upper hand. Be aware of your body language, this can be very powerful.

Some tips are to maintain eye contact, relax your back and neck and be conscious of your choice of language. Absolute extremes such as ‘always’ and ‘never’ can sound very generalised and evoke passionate responses that are unhelpful in this situation. Ascertain what you both want to get out of the situation, often the points raised by individuals are similar, resulting in a mutual goal to work towards. At this point, it will probably become clear whether any intervention from legal or human resources teams is required.

Step 3: Listen & Offer Various Solutions

A lot of the time arguments occur because we are all very prepared to talk and put our opinions across but not so good at listening and absorbing what the other person is saying. When we do actually take the time to listen, the opposing viewpoints sometimes turn out to be surprising and make you realise how you may have been coming across badly, inadvertently making the situation worse. There won’t be a magic wand that can be waved, and we can’t tell you a one size fits all solution, whatever your conflict may be, however, flexibility is key. Discuss a variety of solutions and agree on the best plan of action together. Worst case, if it’s not working you can re-evaluate at a later date.

Step 4: Develop An Action Plan

After you have discussed a few different options that would be agreeable for all parties put something on paper that you will both commit to trialling. Give yourself deadlines or goals like you would with any large project or task, this makes it appear all the more manageable. Obviously, if an intervention was required to guide this process they might need to record this more formally, but having something to refer to is the main thing as in future weeks you can reflect on the issues and how they were resolved.

Step 5: Agree On A Re-Evaluation Date

If you feel it’s appropriate, arrange a time and date to discuss the progress you’ve made. If the issue is beginning to rear its ugly head again then possibly tweak your original plan and try a different tact.

Don’t give in, whatever the problem, it is worth resolving for everyone involved.

If we can help you engage in effective conflict resolution, get in touch with our specialist teams today.