What is Conflict Resolution

man_woman_fighting_sm.jpgConflict between people, any two people or larger groups of people is a fact of life. We are different people. We have differing wants and needs. This means our goals and objectives are in conflict most of the time; even when we are on the same team. Conflict is normal and healthy as long as it can be resolved preserving the relationship of the people involved.

Conflict exists within families, among peers, friends and neighbors. It exists at work, church, school and simply along the street among strangers. Conflict resolution is the process by which we handle the conflict in our lives.

There are many ways we try to resolve conflict. By surrendering, running away, fighting, litigation of filing a complaint with the human resource department. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), AKA conflict resolution, is more civilized than violence and typically cheaper and quicker than litigation.

Common forms of conflict resolution include negotiation, a discussion among two or more people with the goal of reaching an agreement, mediation, a voluntary and confidential process in which a neutral third-party facilitator helps people discuss difficult issues and negotiate an agreement, and arbitration, a process in which a neutral third-party acts as a judge of the dispute and decides the outcome for the parties.

But conflict resolution need not be so formal. Essential we each resolve conflict throughout every day of our lives. We don't consider our parents, siblings, bosses, employees, teachers and students to be warring factions but the conflicts with these people in our lives can be far more complex that some territorial skirmish between nation states.

When resolving our personal conflicts becomes more than we can handle there are some approaches than offer help. This assistance can be provided by your church, school, employer or even another family member. But if you want something a little more formal, consider:

Persuasion Techniques
Evaluation by a Third-Party
This involves enlisting a unbiased attorney, arbitrator or other professional to review the situation and try to facilitate a resolution by explaining the cost of litigation and likely outcome if the case. The parties then can assess if it is worth litigating or would they be better off just settling and moving on.

Peer Referendum
This approach uses a common and respected friend, associate or family member to both of the parties is asked to help resolve the dispute. By having another person hear the complaints of both sides and offer a fresh objective the angst of one-on-one fighting can be mitigated and solutions struck.

It is important to remember that conflict is a normal and necessary part of any healthy relationship. Life would be far too boring if no one disagreed with you or objected to something you were doing. And how would we ever learn anything new if we were never challenged by our teachers, parents or employers?

How we deal with conflict in large part determines the quality of our lives. When mismanaged relationships can be tested and even harmed. By developing effective conflict resolution techniques and skills your personal and professional lives should prosper.