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Turn Conflict into Opportunity

Conflict seems to be inevitable. It surfaces between people in every environment.

Most of us do not like to deal with conflict. Many of us prefer to avoid it. However, if the conflict is between people who have a significant relationship, the cost of avoidance can be high, resulting in stress-related illness, withheld information, poor quality decisions, employee turnover, and sabotage.

Resolving conflicts in a way that everyone feels heard, when everyone has had an opportunity to express their basic desires and needs, can generate important long-term benefits -- such as higher productivity, more commitment to achieving common goals, and better quality decisions.

Here are five key things to remember
when resolving conflicts between two people:

  1. Create a safe space to talk. Avoid discussions in front of peers, bosses, or other significant people.
  2. Listen carefully to everyone involved. What are the real issues?
  3. Ask open questions. "What happened?" rather than "Did you do this?"
  4. Believe it is possible to resolve the conflict. It is amazing how much a positive attitude and belief in the possibility of resolution impacts the outcome.
  5. Prepare and evaluate. Do your homework. Plan and develop different negotiation strategies, different approaches or perspectives, and evaluate their success. Observe your own negotiation style and learn about the way others do it.

Learn about a model which helps you understand how conflict is viewed and managed in your organization, based on the culture Four Organization Cultures

Contact us to find out how we can help you resolve/manage disputes in your organization.

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There are many good books and resources available to help you.
The best-selling book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, by Roger Fisher and William Ury, is a good start.
Another good book is Managing Differences by Dr. Daniel Dana. Check out

Last updated January 1, 2005