The 12 skills of Conflict Resolution are as follows:
Conflict Resolution Skills
Conflict Resolution resources and training are based on 12 skills which
may be relevant to solving any conflict. Pick and choose the skills
appropriate to your particular issue or crisis.
Once you achieved some expertise with Conflict Resolution, you will have
gained the following learning outcomes:
|Identify attitude shifts to respect all parties' needs.
|Transform problems into creative opportunities.
|Develop communication tools to build rapport. Use
listening to clarify understanding.
|Apply strategies to attack the problem not the person.
|Eliminate "power over" to build "power
|Express fear, anger, hurt and frustration wisely to effect
|Name personal issues that cloud the picture.
|Define the issues needed to chart common needs and
|Design creative solutions together.
|Plan and apply effective strategies to reach agreement.
|Help conflicting parties to move towards solutions.
|Evaluate the problem in its broader context.
1. Win Win Approach
Opponents or Partners
The Win/Win Approach is about changing the conflict from
adversarial attack and defence, to co-operation. It is a powerful
shift of attitude that alters the whole course of communication.
One person consistently applying a joint problem-solving approach
can make the difference. You, the reader, will probably be that
person - redirecting the course of the conflict. Therefore, the
first person you have to convince is yourself.
Until we give it attention, we are usually unaware of the way we
We often find ourselves with a knee-jerk reaction in difficult
situations - based on long established habits combined with the
passing mood of the moment. When challenged, we experience
separateness, disconnectedness from those around us - a feeling of
"you or me" - a sense that there isn't enough for both of
us and if one person is right, then the other person must be wrong.
Often we haven't taken even a moment to consider what is the best
approach in the circumstances.
While people battle over opposing solutions "Do it my
way!", "No, that's no good! Do it my way!", the
conflict is a power struggle. What is needed is to change the agenda
in the conversation. The win/win approach says:
I want you to win too.
The challenge now is how to have this happen.
Go Back to Needs
The most important win/win manoeuvre you can make is to change
course by beginning to discuss underlying needs, rather than only
looking at solutions. The following story makes the point quite
There are two people in a kitchen. There is only one orange
left and both of them want it. What would you expect as the
solution? Compromise is one option. They might cut it in half and
each gets half.
Let's assume that's what they do. One person now goes to the
juicer and starts squeezing herself a rather too small orange
juice. The other, with some difficulty, begins to grate the rind
of the orange to flavour a cake.
Had they discussed needs rather than heading straight to
solutions, they could have both had the equivalent of a whole
orange. Their needs were complementary, in fact, not conflicting.
With the determination to use a win/win approach, two sets of needs
can frequently dovetail together.
Addressing each person s underlying needs means you build
solutions that acknowledge and value those needs, rather than
denying them. Even where solutions cannot be as perfect as in the
orange story, the person feels quite differently about the outcome.
To probe below the surface requires redirecting the energy. Ask
questions like "Why does that seeem to be the best solution to
you?", "What's your real need here?", "What
interests need to be served in this situation?", "What
values are important to you here?", "What's the outcome or
result you want?"
The answers to these questions significantly alters the agenda on
the discussion table. It places there the right materials for
co-operative problem- solving. It leads to opportunities for you to
say what you need and for other people to say what they need too.
what's fair for all of us.
|A win/win approach rests on strategies
- going back to underlying needs
- recognition of individual differences
- openness to adapting one s position in the light of shared
information and attitudes
- attacking the problem, not the people.
The Win/Win Approach is certainly ethical, but the reason for its
great success is that IT WORKS. Where both people win, both
are tied to the solution. They feel committed to the plan because it
actually suits them.
Even when trust between the parties is very limited, the Win/Win
Approach can be effective. If there's some doubt about the other
person keeping their end of the bargain you can make the agreement
reciprocal. "I'll do X for you, if you do Y for me." X
supports their needs, Y supports yours. "I'll drive you to the
party, if you clean the car." "I'll help you draw up those
figures for your reports, if you sort out these invoice
It's a successful strategy. Usually, co-operation can result in
both people getting more of what they want. The Win/Win Approach is
Conflict Resolution for mutual gain.
2. Creative Response
Problems or Challenges
The Creative response to conflict is about turning
problems into possibilities. It is about consciously choosing
to see what can be done, rather than staying with how terrible
it all is. It is affirming that you will choose to extract the
best form the situation.
Our attitudes colour our thoughts. Usually we are quite
unaware of how they shape the way we see the world. Two
dramatically contrasting attitudes in life are
"Perfection" versus "Discovery". Let's
call them attitude "hats". What "hat" do
you get dressed in each day? Do you see difficulties as
problems or as challenges?
The Perfection hat says: "Is this good enough or
not?" (Usually not!) "Does this meet my impeccably
The Discovery hat says: "How fascinating! What are the
What is our mind chattering about under our Perfection hat?
Do I measure up?
Life is struggle.
Mistakes are unaccepTable.
Unbendable beliefs about what's proper.
Do you measure up?
Life is hard work.
I have to be right.
Don't take any chances!
The search for Perfection sets up:
"Winners - & - Losers".
Such yardsticks can be used to make decisions about traffic
jams, your partner, the kids, the photostat machine, the boss
and - above all - you.
Is there a Discovery hat still sitting on the shelf in your
wardrobe of possibilities? You may hardly have worn it since
you were a young child. When you learnt to walk you didn't go
"right foot", "wrong foot". It was just
right foot, left foot, and each fall was as interesting as the
next step. To the young child, everything is part of the great
You can get out that hat again and dust it off. What's
tucked away underneath your Discovery hat?
Let's take a risk
What are the possibilities?
Everything's a success
How else can we look at this?
The process of Discovery invites:
"Winners - & - Learners".
If there are no failures, only learning, self-esteem gets a
big boost upwards. You can put on your Discovery hat and
problems look like intriguing crossword puzzles. "What
will make the difference so he stops complaining to me all the
time?", "What else can I try to get the kids to help
with washing up?", "What are we freed up to do now
that $7 million order has just been cancelled?",
"How fascinating, the photostat machine has broken down
Another Challenge? How Fascinating!
Are you judgemental and critical of your mistakes? Children
who are continually protected from making mistakes can grow up
dependent and overly cautious. Bosses who are overly critical
of errors often get "yes" people to serve in their
organisations. This doesn't mean you don't point out errors,
or go through a correcting process. It means the error is
regarded as a splendid opportunity for learning.
When an organisation encourages the willingness to risk in
its employees, it gets an alive and motivated staff. We are at
our most energised as we stand ready to act on the edge of our
A not-so-famous but should be maxim: "If a thing's
worth doing, it's worth doing badly!" is an invitation to
experiment and risk.
Robert Kyosaki in his "Money and You" workshops
often relates the very telling story of the IBM company in the
States. One middle executive there made a tactical error that
cost the company $9 million. The following week the executive,
sure he was about to be fired, was called into the office of
the Chairman. The Chairman started discussing plans for a huge
new projet that he wanted the executive to direct. After a
certain point, the executive was feeling so uncomfortable he
had to stop the Chairman: "Excuse me, sir, you know I'm
amazed. Last week I cost us $9 million. Why are you putting me
in charge of this new project? I thought you were going to
fire me." The Chairman smiled. "Fire you? Young man,
I've just invested $9 million educating you. You're now one of
my most valuable assets." Here was a chairman who valued
the willingness to risk and learn. He knew it was an essential
ingredient in the successful executive.
Life is not about winning and losing - it's about learning.
When you fall down, you pick yourself up and note where the
pot-hole was so you can walk around it the next time. A person
who has gone "too far" knows just how far they can
go. No "winners - and - losers", just "winners
- and - learners".
That's the essence of
What an Opportunity!