Skip to main content

What Are Important Conflict Resolution Skills?

Learn about important conflict resolution skills that can create a healthy working environment here.

Getting involved in conflicts can happen from time to time, but knowing how to handle those conflicts can be difficult, which is why it’s so important to have strong conflict resolution skills.

How you handle a conflict with someone can make or break your relationship with them. When you’re dealing with a conflict in a professional setting, it becomes even more important to handle it correctly to ensure a positive and safe working environment. While it might be easier to put your guard up and get defensive at the first sight of a conflict, doing so can hinder your relationship with the other person. Knowing how to positively handle conflicts means you can resolve them in a much faster and more efficient manner.

At a business, you interact with a wide range of people on a regular basis, so you have to expect conflicts to arise from time to time. No workplace is completely free of conflict, no matter how happy the employees may seem. But the best businesses don’t pride themselves on having any conflicts, they pride themselves on their conflict resolution skills.

In this article, we’ll be going over the conflict resolution skills definition and why conflict resolution is so important. We’ll also cover five conflict resolution strategies that you should know so that you can resolve your disputes in a much more positive and efficient way.

Cover of The Science of Loyalty Playbook by Mailchimp in partnership with Canvas8

The Science of Loyalty

Get the full report & adopt new strategies to engage your customers.

What is conflict resolution?

Conflict resolution is the process that two or more parties use to find a cordial solution to a problem. Conflicts can occur between friends and family members, but also between coworkers, clients, and customers. In the workplace, having poor conflict resolution skills can reflect very negatively on your organization.

Conflicts are natural in both personal and professional relationships, and you shouldn’t try to find a way to avoid conflicts. Instead, you should work on your conflict resolution skills. Having good conflict resolution skills means you can resolve a problem or dispute in a positive way and still maintain a healthy and happy relationship with the other party involved.

Having poor conflict resolution skills is only going to make these inevitable situations so much harder for you. Not only will it take longer to resolve a dispute, but also it can result in a larger argument that could have a significant impact on the relationship between the two parties.

Why is conflict resolution important?

Conflict resolution is crucial for both the workplace and client relationships. Conflict resolution brings people together to figure out a solution to a problem rather than pulling them apart. The goal of a workplace is to create an inclusive environment of people that know how to manage and limit conflicts. You can’t expect to have a conflict-free workplace, so instead, you should aim to ensure everyone has the skills to handle conflicts in a professional manner.

Conflict resolution also means that issues will get resolved much faster, which can lead to greater efficiency in the workplace. Rather than dwelling on an issue for hours or even days, you can resolve the issue quickly and effectively so everyone can get back to work.

A poorly handled conflict can lose your business time and money, while conflict resolution can improve your colleague relationships, employee performance, and retention rates. Knowing how to resolve conflicts with clients can also help improve client retention and maintain strong brand identity and trustworthiness.

Conflict resolution also builds teamwork, as it brings people together to resolve an issue. When you’re able to put aside your differences and come together to reach a conclusion that works for everyone, it shows a lot of strength. It shows that you care more about resolving the issue than being right in the situation. Conflict resolution is essential in order to build strong working relationships that are based on mutual respect and trust.

Overall, conflict resolution creates a positive and inviting company culture so that your employees feel respected. No one wants to go into their office every day worrying about what kind of argument they’re going to get into that day and how it might escalate. Conflict resolution creates a positive work environment that is based on communication and trust, so you can quickly resolve conflicts and move on with your day.

5 important conflict resolution skills

Conflict resolution doesn’t come easily to everyone. Some people naturally default to unhealthy responses, even if it’s not what they intend to say. This is why it’s crucial to know important conflict resolution skills. Instead of handling a situation with anger and resentment, conflict resolution skills teach you to respond in a calm and non-defensive manner.

The next time you find yourself in a dispute with someone at work, be sure to use your conflict resolution skills. Here is how to improve conflict resolution skills so you can have more positive and productive conservations:

1. Active listening

The first step in resolving a problem is taking the time to listen to what the other party has to say. It’s easy to assume that you’re the right one in the situation and dismiss the other person’s thoughts, but that mindset doesn’t help resolve the issue. Instead, it’s imperative to do active listening.

Active listening entails focusing on what the other person has to say, staying quiet as they speak, and listening to how they phrase things. Genuinely listening to their questions and concerns with open ears shows them that you care about what they’re saying, establishing a sense of respect. You should always go into conflict resolution with an open mind so that you can truly see where the other person is coming from.

If the other person phrases things in a certain way, you should phrase your words in the same way back to them. If you’re confused about something they said, ask questions. This indicates that you actually listened to them, which shows that you care about resolving the issue at hand. Actively listening to the other party during a conflict is arguably one of the most important skills to have when it comes to conflict resolution.

2. Communication

Communication is key in every relationship, whether it be professional or personal. If you don’t communicate your thoughts and feelings to the people around you, how can you expect them to understand how you feel?

Although it might be tempting to remain closed off after an argument, that's not the best way to resolve the issue. You need to nurture the relationship to ensure it heals post-conflict by having an open line of communication for both parties. Everyone involved in the conflict should feel comfortable openly discussing their thoughts and feelings in order to come to a resolution together.

Communication is also key to ensuring the relationship stays healthy in the long term. You want to create a workplace environment that encourages inclusion, so no one feels judged or afraid to speak their mind about a dispute or argument. Open communication can also prevent an issue from escalating.

3. Don’t place blame

The last thing you want to do during a conflict is place blame on one another. You shouldn’t point fingers, as this can escalate the conflict and make matters worse. Instead, create a safe environment that doesn’t place blame on one specific person.

You should also avoid going on the offensive, as this can make it more difficult to find a solution. Instead, everyone should have an equal chance to speak without being shut down. It’s crucial to let everyone get their feelings and thoughts out on the table.

When you’re faced with a conflict at work or in your personal life, all the parties involved should work together to resolve it. No one specific person should be held responsible for finding the solution. Working together to find a solution will not only resolve the issue faster, but it will also bring everyone together and encourage teamwork.

4. Remaining calm

Sometimes, our natural response during an argument is to let emotions like anger and frustration take control, but that seldom results in a resolution. Your tone of voice goes a long way in a conversation, which is why it’s important to remain calm when resolving a conflict. Although it might be hard to stay level-headed during a disagreement, it’s necessary so that you don’t exacerbate the issue.

This is also why it’s a good idea to wait after the initial argument before having another conversation. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy for your emotions to take over and say things you don’t mean. Instead, give yourself some time for your emotions to pass before you immediately jump into conflict resolution. That way, you and the other party can take time to reflect on the disagreement and think critically about what happened and why. You should feel calm and composed when entering into conflict resolution and make sure you get your thoughts together beforehand so you know exactly what to say, and how to say it.

5. Collaboration

In a conflict, both parties often believe they’re in the right, which is why it’s important to collaborate and find common ground and compromise. Conflict resolution is a joint effort. You can’t expect one party to come to the solution all by themselves. Instead, you need to work together to reach a solution that works for everyone. Having the willingness to collaborate will also show the other party that you’re able to put your differences aside to come to a conclusion as a team.

Collaboration ensures that all parties are heard, so the solution won’t favor one person over the other. Working together also means that you’ll likely come to a conclusion much faster. Collaboration means letting go of your pride and working together so you can resolve the issue at hand.

Conflict resolution strategies

When addressing conflict, there are various strategies that you can follow. All of these strategies are often used in the court of law, but they can be applied to any sort of conflict situation, including in the workplace.

Following these strategies can ensure a positive outcome from the dispute. Everyone has a different way of handling conflicts, but here are some examples of helpful conflict resolution strategies that may work for you:

1. Negotiation

Negotiating can be hard, but it’s crucial when it comes to conflict resolution. Negotiating means putting your differences aside and working together to come to a conclusion. Negotiation helps you build better relationships in the workplace because it shows that you’re willing to let go of your ideals to find a solution that works for everyone involved. When you can successfully negotiate a solution with someone, that puts you ahead in the workplace and will lead to greater efficiency.

2. Meditation

Most people are familiar with having a mediator from back in our elementary school days, but this strategy can still be applied even in the workplace. The mediation strategy involves enlisting a neutral, unbiased third party who can help you come to a conclusion. Sometimes, having another person involved in a discussion is all you need to find a solution.

With a mediator, you’re able to get a completely unbiased opinion of the situation. For example, if you’re having an argument over a project with a coworker, you can ask another coworker who is unrelated to the project to be your mediator. This way, they can give an opinion that’s simply based on facts and isn’t influenced by personal feelings.

3. Arbitration

Arbitration involves having a third party that acts as a “judge” who will make the final decision to end the dispute. This person will listen to both sides of the argument and then come to a decision based on the evidence that is presented to them. This decision will be final and the parties involved in the dispute cannot appeal the decision. However, they can try to negotiate certain aspects of the decision.

The goal of this strategy is to have a completely unbiased third opinion who makes a decision that is based fully on the evidence that was presented to them.

4. Litigation

In litigation, the parties involved in the dispute will go in front of a judge or a judge and jury who will hear both sides of the argument, weigh the evidence, and then make a decision. The judge and jury can just be any people who are not directly involved in the conflict.

Key takeaways: Conflict resolution skills

Having good conflict resolution skills is necessary both within and outside of the workplace. Conflicts are inevitable. Everyone in your office can get along extremely well, and you’ll likely still find yourself faced with a conflict from time to time. So instead of trying to avoid conflicts altogether, you should work on your conflict resolution skills.

The way you handle a conflict shows a lot about who you are as a person. If you can resolve a conflict with grace and calmness, it indicates that you’re willing to put your differences aside for the sake of a resolution, which is a very important trait to have. The next time you find yourself faced with a conflict at work, follow the above strategies and you’ll be comfortable with conflict resolution in no time.

If you need help with managing your business and creating more effective marketing strategies, check out Mailchimp. Mailchimp is an all-in-one marketing platform that offers various tools that can help you streamline your business processes. When you sign up for Mailchimp, you can get help with everything from email marketing to audience management, so you can run a successful business with a strong company culture that focuses on creating healthy working relationships.

Running a business means ensuring that expectations are met, whether that be with client relationships or within your actual workplace. It doesn’t matter if you’re a small business owner or a freelancer, it’s important to focus on investing in people so that you can foster strong relationships with both your employees and your partners. And Mailchimp can provide you with the right tools and resources you need to achieve just that. So whether you need help with creating marketing strategies or improving your client relationships, Mailchimp is here to help through it all.

Share This Article