Conflict resolution through collaboration

Conflict resolution through collaboration

In order to resolve a conflict, we first need to understand it, beyond the emotions and feelings it causes us. When we find ourselves in a dispute with a relationship partner, of whatever kind, we often wish it would just go away and the relationship would return to its normal state. But if the tension has come to a head, then we will most likely have to do something about it and not wait for it to magically resolve itself. Before dealing with the problem, we need to turn our adversary into a collaborator by giving them trust, time and emotional support and getting their agreement that we are willing to fix the situation.

Then, as a first step, we define the conflict, we formulate the problem in clear, simple and neutral terms. We obtain information about the other person's views, compare them with our own and remove obstacles that might make us uncomfortable in the future (e.g. negative beliefs about the other person or stereotypes).

The second step is to identify the parties involved and exclude others from the discussions and the approach.

In the third stage we analyze conflict, facts, needs, positive feelings and clarify negative feelings (e.g. fears, concerns, worries, both common and personal). Note that not all needs or interests will be common, so a list is helpful for situations where they are complex and different. Again we deal with the motivations for meeting needs and reaching consensus. Do not neglect things that hide something else deeply or unspoken, and remember that the other person is also entitled to have emotional reactions, to change their point of view or express their opinions.

The fourth stage is to generate ideas for resolving the conflict. All the points noted or agreed need to be taken into account and the participation of both parties is crucial. It is a creative approach where the motivation mentioned above can make the difference between a conflict being resolved definitively and well and a total failure.

In the fifth stage we choose the best solution. An agreement is reached through negotiation, and the aim is to offer the best solution that ensures a win-win situation for both parties. Hands are shaken in agreement, then the plan of action is drawn up.

The sixth stage is the implementation of the action plan, punctuated by moments when both partners check and monitor the situation from time to time to ensure that it is moving in the desired direction.

And, in the last phase, the result is compared with the initial situation. You might suggest that it can be ruled out, because progress is obvious. But just as conflict resolution began at one point, it must end at another. And highlighting progress is a good way to end such collaboration and agree on strategies to prevent another conflict. Ideally, the end point should be set at the outset with a question such as "When will we accept that this conflict is considered resolved?" so that the destination of the process is clear and agreed by both sides.

Updated on 2/6/23, 10:31 AM