Conflict Resolutions for 2019 by Alison Love

January 3rd, 2019

Conflict Resolutions 2019

by Alison Love

I don’t really do New Year Resolutions and generally don’t like lists so I thought a list of resolutions would be an excellent idea!

A resolution is defined as a “firm decision to do or not to do something”. Here is my list of things that I have made a firm decision to do (at various times and not just for New Year).  I hope that you find this list useful and that it will help others to improve relationships and to positively manage conflict.

  • Take time to engage– Invest time in really listening to and getting to know those that work with you. If you can build trusting and collaborative relationships conflict is far less likely to arise in the first place as the ability to have open and honest conversations will be enhanced.
  • Say thank you– Such an easy thing to do and so effective.
  • Say sorry – In a conflict situation, what most people want is some form of an apology; an understanding of the impact on them and an acknowledgement of the others contribution to this. This can be very powerful in resolving matters. We all know how the nursey rhyme, “words cannot hurt me but sticks and stones can” goes, but as Ken Cloke points out, “words can hurt but they can also heal”.
  • Choose words carefully – Think about the language you use. Neuroscience research demonstrates that we do not respond well to negative language; it stops us listening and we get emotionally hooked. Using neutral language and using skills such as positive reframing are very powerful in deescalating or resolving issues.
  • Breathe– It might sound obvious as we all need to breathe to survive. In this context I mean breathe to compose yourself, reduce the impact of stress and give yourself time to think about how best to respond.
  • I am responsible for my happiness – Whatever we might think at certain times, we (not others) are responsible for how we feel.
  • It is better to be happy than right–  Often (perhaps always) getting hung up on the truth and being right gets in the way of resolving issues and maintaining effective relationships. Often it is said that “There are three truths: My truth, your truth, and what really happened” so how do we determine what is really right in any event?
  • Validate rather than justify – I think that this is the single best bit of advice to de-escalate situations. Validation requires enquiry and obtaining further information about the issue before defending or justifying your own position.  It closely follows Stephen Covey’s  Habit 5 of Highly Effective People 5: “Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood”.
  • Be Curious– This could be an extension of the above but particularly when dealing with difficult conversations, be curious about the other persons point of view. Being curious avoids getting stuck in truth, intentions and blame and enables you to gain a real understanding of other persons interests.
  • Challenge assumptions – We are all brilliant at jumping to assumptions; in a conflict satiation we assume that there is ill intent. In reality we cannot know this for sure, and it is rarely the case. So, challenge yourself to understand what is triggering your reaction and response and what other explanation there may be for this, there is always an alternative explanation or possibility if you look hard enough.
  • Listen– Really listen to others; do not multi task when listening as it does not work. Listen to the words but also to the emotions and feelings behind them. This takes time and effort, but it is worth it.

I hope that my list helps in managing positive relationships and resolving conflicts in 2019 and beyond and take this opportunity to wish all of my readers a peaceful and happy New Year.

For more information on the options and interventions to help resolve conflict our full range of conflict resolution services are here. We are always happy to discuss what may be appropriate in any given situation so please contact us on 07808 829545/01446 760993 (Wales) 07766562730/0117 3739192 (England) or email us at [email protected]



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