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37 Expert Types of Conflict Resolution Strategies (2023)

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

Introduction: Enhancing Conflict Resolution Through Effective Strategies

Conflicts are bound to happen in life, and how we deal with them has a profound impact on our relationships and overall well-being. Luckily, there's a whole array of strategies at our disposal to effectively address conflicts and foster healthy communication and relationship building.


In this blog, we'll delve into key strategies grouped into various categories: communication and relationship building, problem-solving and decision making, conflict resolution approaches and techniques, personal development and emotional management, tools and resources for conflict resolution, skill-building and practice activities, and recommended books and worksheets for conflict resolution.



Communication and Relationship Building


1. Assertive communication


Assertive communication is all about expressing your thoughts, needs, and feelings in a clear and respectful manner while considering the rights of others. It's super important because it encourages open dialogue, prevents misunderstandings, and fosters mutual understanding. To implement this strategy, give "I" statements a go, actively listen to others, and strike a balance between self-expression and considering others' perspectives.


2. Collaboration

Collaboration is a cooperative approach where folks work together to find solutions that benefit everyone involved. It's a big deal because it encourages teamwork, boosts creativity, and builds trust among team members. To make it happen, create an environment where diverse opinions are valued, involve everyone in decision-making, and promote open and honest communication.


3. Empathy


Empathy is about understanding and sharing the feelings and perspectives of others. It's crucial because it promotes understanding, builds trust, and strengthens relationships. To embrace this strategy, actively listen without judging, try to put yourself in others' shoes, and validate their emotions and experiences.


4. Active listening


Active listening means giving your full attention and truly grasping the speaker's message. It's vital because it shows respect, enhances understanding, and prevents miscommunication. To put this strategy into action, give your undivided attention, maintain eye contact, ask questions to clarify, and reflect back to ensure you've got it right.


5. Engaging with others respectfully


Engaging with others respectfully means treating people with courtesy, dignity, and professionalism. It's key to creating a positive work environment, facilitating effective communication, and building strong relationships. To make it a reality, show appreciation, choose your words and tone wisely, and respect diverse perspectives.


6. Verbalizing feelings, views, and needs


Verbalizing your feelings, views, and needs means expressing your emotions, opinions, and requirements in a clear and constructive manner. It's essential because it fosters transparency, prevents pent-up frustration, and paves the way for collaborative problem-solving. To implement this strategy, be self-aware, pick appropriate moments to express yourself, and use "I" statements to convey your thoughts and emotions.


Are you dealing with a conflict, right now?


Discover the system for dealing well with difficult people that REALLY works...


(even if you hate conflict...)



Problem-Solving and Decision Making


7. Problem-solving


Problem-solving involves identifying, analyzing, and finding solutions to conflicts or challenges. It's a powerful tool as it enables proactive resolution, sparks innovation, and improves outcomes. To put this strategy to work, define the problem, gather relevant information, generate alternative solutions, weigh the pros and cons, and implement the best solution.


8. Defining primary needs surrounding the conflict


Defining primary needs means digging deep to understand the underlying interests, desires, and concerns of all parties involved in the conflict. It's a game-changer because it uncovers the root causes, fosters understanding, and guides the search for mutually satisfactory solutions. To make this strategy work, engage in open and honest discussions, ask open-ended questions, and actively listen to uncover those underlying needs.


9. Brainstorming possible solutions


Brainstorming is all about generating a plethora of ideas and potential solutions without any judgment. It's fantastic because it encourages creativity, broadens possibilities, and promotes collaboration. To rock this strategy, create a safe space for brainstorming where everyone's ideas are welcome, encourage active participation from all, and embrace different perspectives.


10. Choosing solutions that meet the needs of both parties


Choosing solutions that meet the needs of both parties involves finding compromises or win-win outcomes that address the interests of everyone involved. It's a winning move because it fosters cooperation, preserves relationships, and increases overall satisfaction. To make it happen, take into account the primary needs of each party, explore trade-offs, and strive to find solutions that everyone can agree on.


11. Creating an agenda with assigned tasks


Creating an agenda with assigned tasks means organizing the steps, responsibilities, and timelines for implementing the agreed-upon solutions. It's a crucial step as it provides structure, clarity, and accountability, ensuring that progress is made towards resolving the conflict. To put this strategy into action, outline the key action steps, clearly define tasks for each party, set deadlines, and effectively communicate the agenda to all involved.


12. Implementing the agreed-upon plan


Implementing the agreed-upon plan involves putting the chosen solutions into action and following through on the assigned tasks. It's the moment where ideas transform into tangible results, building trust through accountability and demonstrating a commitment to resolving the conflict.


To bring this strategy to life, allocate necessary resources, monitor progress, address any obstacles that arise, and keep all parties informed throughout the implementation process.


13. Evaluating and reevaluating solutions if needed


Evaluating and reevaluating solutions means regularly assessing the effectiveness of implemented strategies and making adjustments if necessary. It's an ongoing process because conflicts and circumstances can change over time, and it's essential to ensure that the chosen solutions remain relevant and effective.


To make this strategy work, consistently review the outcomes, gather feedback from all parties involved, and be open to modifying the approach if it proves ineffective or incomplete.


Conflict Resolution Approaches and Techniques


14. Self-awareness


Self-awareness involves recognizing and understanding your own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in the context of conflict. It's a superpower because it allows you to manage your reactions, biases, and triggers, enabling more effective conflict resolution. To embrace this strategy, take time for self-reflection, seek feedback from others, and develop your emotional intelligence skills.


15. Self-control


Self-control entails managing your emotions, impulses, and reactions during conflict situations. It's the secret ingredient that helps maintain composure, facilitates rational decision-making, and prevents conflicts from spiraling out of control. To implement this strategy, practice techniques like deep breathing, taking a pause before responding, and focus on positive coping mechanisms to regulate your emotions.


16. Engaging in an open door policy


Engaging in an open door policy means creating an environment where individuals feel comfortable approaching you to discuss conflicts or concerns. It's a powerful approach as it encourages open communication, builds trust, and allows conflicts to be addressed in their early stages. To make this strategy work, let people know you're available and willing to listen, encourage feedback, and assure confidentiality.


17. Utilizing ombudspersons


Utilizing ombudspersons refers to seeking the assistance of neutral third-party individuals who can provide confidential support and guidance in conflict resolution. It's like having a mediator on standby.


They offer an impartial perspective, facilitate communication, and help parties find common ground. To make this strategy work, identify and establish relationships with qualified ombudspersons within your organization or seek external mediators when needed.


18. Internal peer mediation


Internal peer mediation involves training employees to mediate conflicts between their colleagues. It's a powerful way to empower individuals to take ownership of conflict resolution, foster a culture of collaboration, and reduce reliance on formal interventions. To implement this strategy, provide mediation training, designate internal mediators, and establish clear guidelines and procedures for peer mediation. This way, employees can step up as mediators and help resolve conflicts among their peers.


19. Seeking professional mediators


Seeking professional mediators entails engaging trained and impartial mediators to facilitate the resolution of complex or deeply entrenched conflicts. It's like calling in the experts to bring harmony back into the picture. Professional mediators bring expertise, neutrality, and a structured process to help parties find common ground. To make this strategy work, identify reputable mediation services or professionals, discuss the scope and confidentiality requirements, and involve all relevant parties in the selection process.


20. Peer review and employee appeals


Peer review and employee appeals refer to established processes where conflicts can be reviewed and resolved through the involvement of colleagues or designated review committees. It's like having a fairness committee in place to ensure justice prevails. This approach provides a fair and transparent mechanism for addressing conflicts that cannot be resolved at lower levels.


To implement this strategy, establish clear policies and procedures for peer review and employee appeals, ensuring confidentiality and impartiality, and communicate the availability of these avenues for conflict resolution to all employees.


Personal Development and Emotional Management


21. Remaining calm during conflict


Remaining calm during conflict involves managing your emotions and reactions to maintain a composed and constructive demeanor. It's all about keeping your cool under pressure. It allows for rational thinking, effective communication, and prevents conflicts from turning into chaos. To implement this strategy, practice relaxation techniques, develop self-soothing strategies, and focus on maintaining a positive mindset even in the heat of the moment.


22. Developing conflict intelligence


Developing conflict intelligence entails acquiring knowledge and skills related to understanding and managing conflicts effectively. It's like becoming a conflict ninja, equipped with wisdom and insights.


Developing conflict intelligence enhances your ability to navigate complex conflicts, promotes empathy and perspective-taking, and fosters better decision-making. To implement this strategy, seek out conflict resolution training, dive into relevant literature, and engage in reflective practices to deepen your understanding of conflicts.


23. Assessing conflict management styles


Assessing conflict management styles involves understanding your preferred approaches to conflict resolution and their impact on others. It's about knowing your conflict style and its effects on the dance of resolution. Assessing conflict management styles promotes self-awareness, enables adaptability, and allows for the selection of appropriate strategies in different conflict situations.


To implement this strategy, reflect on your typical responses to conflicts, explore different conflict management styles, and seek feedback from others to gain insights into your strengths and areas for improvement.


24. Practicing meditation for conflict resolution


Practicing meditation for conflict resolution involves incorporating mindfulness and meditation techniques into your daily routine to cultivate inner calm and clarity. It's like taking a mental vacation to recharge and refocus.


Practicing meditation helps regulate emotions, reduces stress, and enhances your ability to approach conflicts with a balanced mindset. To implement this strategy, set aside regular time for meditation, explore different meditation techniques, and integrate mindfulness practices into your daily life.


Are you dealing with a conflict, right now?


Discover the system for dealing well with difficult people that REALLY works...


(even if you hate conflict...)



Tools and Resources for Conflict Resolution


25. Using the Two Dollar Game


Using the Two Dollar Game refers to a simulation exercise that illustrates the concepts of cooperation, negotiation, and win-win outcomes in conflict resolution. It's like playing a game with real-life lessons. The Two Dollar Game provides a practical and interactive learning experience, fosters understanding of collaborative strategies, and promotes creative problem-solving.


To make this strategy work, familiarize yourself with the Two Dollar Game materials, facilitate the activity in a group setting, and encourage discussions on the lessons learned.


26. Applying the Conflict Description Template


Applying the Conflict Description Template involves using a structured framework to clearly define and analyze conflicts, including their causes, impact, and desired outcomes. It's like creating a conflict map to navigate the territory. This approach provides a systematic way to understand conflicts, identify underlying issues, and guide the development of effective resolution strategies.


To implement this strategy, access conflict description templates or develop your own, gather relevant information, and use the template as a guide for conflict analysis. Get down to the nitty-gritty and uncover what's really going on.


27. Utilizing the Coping with Stress in the Workplace Workbook


Utilizing the Coping with Stress in the Workplace Workbook involves accessing a resource that provides strategies and exercises to manage stress and enhance well-being in the workplace. It's like having a personal guide to navigate the choppy waters of stress. This workbook equips individuals with practical tools to cope with the emotional challenges that often accompany conflicts.


To make the most of this strategy, obtain the Coping with Stress in the Workplace Workbook, engage in the suggested activities, and integrate the strategies into your daily routine. Take charge of your stress and reclaim your peace of mind.


28. Accessing online tools and resources for conflict resolution


Accessing online tools and resources for conflict resolution involves leveraging digital platforms, websites, and databases that provide information, guidance, and tools for effective conflict resolution. It's like having a virtual treasure trove of conflict-solving wisdom at your fingertips. Online resources offer convenience, a wide range of information, and access to interactive tools and exercises.


To make this strategy work, explore reputable websites and platforms focused on conflict resolution, access relevant articles, videos, and downloadable resources, and apply the knowledge and tools to your specific conflicts. Let the digital world be your guide to conflict resolution success.


Skill-Building and Practice Activities


29. Role play activity for assertive messages


Role-play activity for assertive messages involves practicing assertive communication in simulated scenarios to enhance your skills and confidence. It's like stepping into someone else's shoes and gaining a fresh perspective. Role-playing allows for experiential learning, helps develop effective communication strategies, and prepares you for real-life conflict situations.


To implement this strategy, grab a partner or gather a group, choose relevant conflict scenarios, take turns playing different roles, and provide constructive feedback to refine your assertive communication skills. Get ready to put your communication skills into action!


Recommended Books for Conflict Resolution


30. People Skills by Robert Bolton


"People Skills" by Robert Bolton is a highly regarded book that offers practical insights and techniques for improving communication, resolving conflicts, and building stronger relationships. It's like having a trusted mentor guiding you through the intricacies of human interaction. This book provides valuable guidance on essential interpersonal skills and offers actionable strategies for conflict resolution.


To make the most of this strategy, get your hands on a copy of the book, dive into its pages with full attention, and apply the recommended techniques and principles in your everyday interactions. Let the wisdom of "People Skills" be your secret weapon.


31. The Big Book of Conflict Resolution Games by Mary Scannell


"The Big Book of Conflict Resolution Games" by Mary Scannell is a comprehensive resource that presents a collection of interactive games and activities for addressing conflicts in various settings. It's like having a toolbox full of engaging games to defuse tension and foster cooperation.


This book offers creative and interactive ways to promote understanding, collaboration, and problem-solving. To implement this strategy, acquire the book, explore the game options, adapt them to your specific context, and facilitate the games with the individuals involved in the conflict. Let the games begin!


32. Emerging Systems for Managing Workplace Conflict by Lipsky, Seeber, and Fincher


"Emerging Systems for Managing Workplace Conflict" by Lipsky, Seeber, and Fincher is a book that explores innovative approaches and systems for effectively managing conflicts in organizational settings. It's like having a guidebook to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of workplace conflicts.


This book provides insights into alternative dispute resolution methods, organizational practices, and systemic approaches to prevent and resolve conflicts. It's like having a roadmap to transform your workplace dynamics. "Emerging Systems for Managing Workplace Conflict" equips you with fresh perspectives and tools to navigate complex conflicts.


To make the most of this strategy, obtain the book, dive into its pages, study the recommended systems, and consider how they can be adapted and implemented in your unique workplace. Embrace new possibilities and reimagine conflict resolution.


33. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler


"Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High" by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler is a bestselling book that offers practical strategies for effectively navigating high-stakes conversations and resolving conflicts. It's like having a survival guide for those tough and sensitive conversations.


This book provides a framework for addressing crucial topics, managing emotions, and achieving positive outcomes. To implement this strategy, get yourself a copy of the book, delve into its wisdom, study the techniques, and apply them to those crucial conversations and conflicts you encounter. Arm yourself with the tools to turn challenging discussions into transformative opportunities.


34. Coping with Stress in the Workplace Workbook by Leutenberg and Liptak


The Coping with Stress in the Workplace Workbook is a valuable resource that provides practical tools and exercises to help individuals manage and reduce workplace stress. It's like having a personal coach cheering you on as you conquer stress. This workbook empowers you to cope with the emotional challenges that often accompany conflicts.


To make the most of this strategy, obtain a copy of the workbook, immerse yourself in the suggested activities, such as stress management techniques, self-reflection exercises, and goal setting. Take control of your stress and reclaim your well-being.


35. Assertive Communication Worksheet


The Assertive Communication worksheet is a resource designed to help individuals practice and improve their assertiveness skills. It's like having a step-by-step guide to assertive communication. This strategy is crucial because assertive communication is vital for expressing needs, setting boundaries, and resolving conflicts constructively.


To implement this strategy, access an assertive communication worksheet or template, fill it out with specific scenarios that resonate with you, practice using assertive language and body language, and reflect on the outcomes. Boost your assertiveness and find your voice.


36. Active Listening Reflection Worksheet


The Active Listening Reflection worksheet is a tool designed to enhance active listening skills and promote understanding in communication. It's like having a mirror to reflect on your listening abilities. Active listening is crucial for effective conflict resolution, building trust, and fostering empathy.


To implement this strategy, find an Active Listening Reflection worksheet, engage in active listening exercises, and reflect on your listening experiences. Identify areas for improvement and celebrate your strengths in listening. Fine-tune your listening skills and deepen your connections.


As you embark on your journey to enhance conflict resolution, remember that it's a continuous process of learning and growth. Embrace the strategies that resonate with you, adapt them to your unique circumstances, and always be open to new perspectives. Conflict resolution is not about eliminating conflicts but about transforming them into opportunities for understanding, growth, and stronger relationships.


With the right strategies and a commitment to personal development, you have the power to navigate conflicts with grace, empathy, and resilience. Get ready to embark on a transformative path towards effective conflict resolution.


37. Step Up or Step Out by Jonno White


I would be remiss to write this blog without mentioning my book Step Up or Step Out. I wrote this book because more than 50% of the leaders I coach bring this up as a challenge. How do you navigate a conflict when you're dealing with someone who you're finding... difficult to lead?


Discover the system for dealing well with difficult people that REALLY works...


(even if you hate conflict...)



Frequently Asked Questions


Q: How can you effectively use email in conflict resolution?


A: Ah, email, the unsung hero of conflict resolution! While face-to-face communication is often the go-to, email can be a handy tool in certain situations. It's like having a written record of your discussions, where you can carefully craft your words. When using email for conflict resolution, it's crucial to be clear, concise, and respectful in your messages.


Take the time to compose thoughtful responses, address the issues at hand, and offer potential solutions. But hey, remember that email can sometimes be a tricky beast. It lacks tone and context, leaving room for misunderstandings. So, if the conflict starts getting complex or emotions are running wild, consider switching to a face-to-face or phone conversation for that extra dose of effective communication and understanding.


Q: How does conflict resolution impact relationships?


A: Conflict resolution and relationships are like two peas in a pod, my friend. When conflicts are handled like pros, relationships can actually blossom and grow stronger. Conflict opens the door to open and honest communication, the kind that deepens understanding and builds trust between individuals.


By addressing conflicts in a constructive manner and finding solutions that work for everyone, relationships can evolve and become more resilient. But hey, if conflicts are left to fester or poorly managed, they can strain relationships and lead to all sorts of not-so-fun emotions.


That's why it's vital to approach conflict resolution with empathy, active listening, and a willingness to find that magical common ground. When we nurture relationships through conflict resolution, they become a solid foundation for collaboration, support, and shared success. Isn't that something worth striving for?


Q: How does conflict resolution impact productivity?


A: Brace yourself, my friend, because conflict resolution can have a massive impact on productivity. When conflicts rear their ugly heads in a team or organization, they can wreak havoc on the workflow, hinder collaboration, and create a downright negative work environment.


But fear not! When conflicts are tackled head-on and resolved with finesse, productivity can reach new heights. By addressing conflicts in a timely and open manner, teams can laser-focus on their tasks and goals, free from those pesky distractions and tensions. Conflict resolution allows individuals to work together in perfect harmony, leveraging their diverse perspectives and skills to drive innovation and problem-solving.


It creates an atmosphere that's positive, supportive, and downright motivating. So, my friend, if you're aiming for a thriving and productive work environment, don't shy away from conflict resolution. Embrace it like a superhero cape and let it propel you towards growth and success!


Q: How do you handle confrontation in conflict resolution?


A: Confrontation, oh boy, it's a tough nut to crack when it comes to conflict resolution. But fear not, there are some strategies that can help you navigate those stormy waters with finesse. One trick is to keep your cool and maintain your composure during those tense moments.


Take a deep breath and actively listen to the other party, trying to understand their concerns. And hey, don't forget about giving constructive feedback! Point out specific behaviors or actions that are causing issues and explain their impact. Oh, and let's not forget about assumptions.


It's crucial to address those and clear up any misunderstandings that might be fueling the confrontation. And you know what? Talking face-to-face, where emotions are on full display, can really help facilitate open dialogue and lead to a more productive resolution.


Q: How can storytelling and humor spice up conflict resolution?


A: Let's talk about storytelling and humor, my friends! They can be real game-changers in conflict resolution. Picture this: by sharing personal stories related to the conflict at hand, you create a connection, you show empathy, and you help others understand where you're coming from. It's like unlocking a whole new level of understanding and fostering empathy among all the parties involved.


And let's not forget about humor, my dear friend. When used wisely, humor can diffuse tension like a champ and bring some much-needed levity to those difficult conversations. It's like sprinkling a dash of laughter to lighten the mood and build a sense of camaraderie. But hey, remember to use humor respectfully and be mindful of cultural sensitivities. We want to bring people together, not push them further apart!


Q: How does conflict resolution impact teamwork and organizational morale?


A: Ah, conflict resolution, the superhero that swoops in to save the day for teamwork and organizational morale! When conflicts are effectively resolved, it's like a breath of fresh air for the team. It creates a positive work environment where collaboration thrives and relationships are strengthened.


You see, when conflicts are addressed openly and constructively, people feel like they matter, like their voices are heard. And that, my friend, builds trust and boosts morale like nobody's business! Plus, conflict resolution helps us identify and resolve underlying issues that might be lurking beneath the surface. It's like pulling out those pesky weeds so that the garden of productivity can flourish and bloom.


Q: What's the big deal about transparency in conflict resolution?


A: Transparency, my friend, is like the secret sauce in conflict resolution. It's what makes everything come together beautifully. When we're transparent about our perspectives, interests, and motivations, it's like turning on the lights in a dark room. Suddenly, we can see the underlying issues clearly and identify potential solutions.


Transparency also builds trust among team members, and let's be real, trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship. When we foster an environment where conflicts can be openly addressed, it's like throwing open the windows and letting fresh air circulate. And hey, let's not forget about accountability! Transparency holds us all accountable for our actions, making sure we're walking the talk and creating a culture of honesty and integrity.


Q: How does conflict resolution connect with personal values and needs?


A: Conflict resolution, my friend, is all about living our values and honoring our needs. It's like a reflection of who we are and what we stand for. When we engage in conflict resolution, we should always keep our personal values in mind. We want our actions to be in line with our ethical principles, don't we? It's about finding solutions that respect the needs and interests of all parties involved.


It's like a dance where we seek a collaborative outcome that aligns with our values. And you know what else? Resilience plays a big role in conflict resolution. It's like having a superpower that helps us bounce back from conflicts, learn from them, and adapt our approaches for the future.


We face challenges head-on, we grow from them, and we become better equipped to handle conflicts in a more effective and compassionate way. So, let's embrace conflict resolution as an opportunity to live our values, meet our needs, and cultivate our resilience. Together, we can navigate conflicts with grace and emerge stronger on the other side. Let's do this!


Are you dealing with a conflict, right now?



Discover the system for dealing well with difficult people that REALLY works...


(even if you hate conflict...)


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