Ten Great Conflict Resolution Strategies

Wherever you are, whatever you're doing - you're going to have to deal with a conflict of some description at one time or another. To help you manage this quickly and easily, we have 10 handy conflict resolution strategies for you to have a go at.

1. Organize a discussion time - People are bound to get angry if they aren't given the opportunity to state their points clearly and in the way that they feel is right. Organize a time and a place where everyone can meet and put their points across. This way, no one can be accused of ignoring anyone else.

2. Request positive body language - There's nothing worse than opening dialogue with someone who doesn't want to be present, and looks as if they don't care. Ask all of those involved to make eye contact, as this will enable the resolution to be carried out as quickly and comfortably as possible.

3. Take minutes or notes - Assign someone to jot down a brief account of what is said. By taking this precautionary measure, there's at least some degree of evidence for what was discussed and/or decided upon.

4. Try not to interrupt - If you are looking at thorough conflict resolution, you need to ensure everyone has had the opportunity to say their piece and make it clear as to what they feel. Don't make a intervention until they have finished what they are saying - show respect to all members of the group.

5. Have a neutral 'referee' - The person overseeing the conflict resolution should have a neutral approach, with no emotional attachment to either party - always. They can't favor one person over another; this is unfair and no progress will be made.

6. Look at what you agree on - Rather than focusing on all the negatives, try and examine some of the more positive aspects of the conflict, if there are any. You may reach a mutual agreement more easily by looking at things the people involved do agree on, rather than simply what they don't.

7. Avoid making accusations - Make sure you don't put words in someone's mouth. You can't prove anything without 100% factual evidence, and accusing people of things they may not have done - even if you have strong inclinations that they did - is a dangerous route to follow. They could take legal action, or at least cause a large rift.

8. Ask both parties to suggest ways forward - By asking the two or more sets of disagreeing people to look at ways of moving on, you may be able to reach some sort of compromise - one with positive outcomes for all.

9. Decide on the conflict resolution - The meeting will have been a wasted exercise if no decision was made. To make sure this isn't the case, decide on one or more actions that should be taken to solve the problem at heart.

10. Arrange to meet again - Organize another gathering a week or more after the initial one to evaluate if things have gone according to plan. If not: think why, and attack the problem again until it has fully gone. It can be done, with effort from both parties.