Methods of conflict resolution

The easiest way to resolve the conflict is for one of the parties involved to leave the field of conflict without losing face. This can be made possible, for example, by a transfer. If none of the parties can leave the field of conflict, it is possible for a higher authority to resolve the conflict by issuing instructions and announcing sanctions if the instructions are not followed. In this case, care must be taken to avoid loss of motivation and sabotage at all costs. The dignity and self-respect of all parties must be preserved. Communicative support of the conflict resolution process is essential for this.

If there is no higher authority, a constructive discussion of the conflict must take place. This is a discourse at a higher level than that at which the conflict actually lies.

In a first step, the willingness to find a solution must be signaled by all parties involved. If this willingness does not exist, the conflict will not be resolved. In such cases, one party to the conflict must be persuaded to leave the field of conflict.

If all parties to the conflict have signaled their willingness to resolve the conflict, a second step is for the parties to name the disturbances they perceive and to make the underlying needs and goals visible.

A further step towards conflict resolution is an analysis of the causes of the conflict. From the conflict analysis, approaches to a solution can often already be gained. An analysis is most successful when a conflict is recognized early and has not yet escalated. In an early conflict phase, emotions can be controlled better than in a later phase. It is important to ensure that conflicts are dealt with objectively and that the exchange does not become personal.

Now criteria can be worked out that characterize a conflict resolution that is successful for all sides. Against the background of these jointly supported criteria, proposals for solutions can then be developed that meet these criteria. It is important to have the discipline not to criticize proposed solutions immediately, but to work out alternative paths together first. Only then should the feasibility of these paths and the acceptance of the parties involved for these paths be questioned.

The willingness to make concessions shows whether the signaled willingness to find a joint solution is pronounced. The solution will result from a negotiation process. Shared “rules of the game” are essential throughout the conflict resolution process. Mutual respect, a positive view of humanity and constructive interaction are necessary prerequisites for conflict resolution.

If a solution approach is accepted by all conflict parties, the implementation of this approach should be agreed upon in writing. A review of whether the implementation has been carried out as agreed and how well the solution is working in practice concludes the conflict resolution in the best case.


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