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Conflict Management Strategies


Whether you are a supervisor, an employee, or an independent agent, conflict is inevitable. Although it is often easier to prevent conflicts in the first place, this is not always possible. If you do experience a conflict with an individual, here are five ways to resolve the issue as quickly and as easily as possible.

Start with a Conversation

All conflict resolution needs to start with a conversation. Otherwise, the issue will fester and there will continue to be distracting issues between you and the other individual. Invite the other person to sit down and have a conversation. Try to ask in a friendly manner. If the issue has taken place at work, your supervisor might want to be involved in the meeting between the two of you.

Stay Open-Minded

It is important that you go into the conversation with an open mind. Be prepared to have your mind changed at least somewhat by the other person. You might realize that the conflict was only due to a misunderstanding. You might realize that you are partially to blame for the situation.

Stay Calm

It is crucial that you manage your emotions. If you are feeling emotional, take a break from the conversation. You might need a minute to collect yourself, otherwise the conversation will not be successful. Conversations where emotions become apparent only escalate the conflict. When you stay calm you promote honest and open communication. If you do feel yourself getting angry or upset, excuse yourself to get a drink or use the restroom. You can always return to the conversation once you feel calmer.

Stick With “I” Messages

If you begin statements with the word you, the other person might feel attacked. To get the conversation neutral, begin your statements with “I think” or “I feel”. This allows the person to respond more calmly.

State Your Desires

One of the most important things you can do to resolve a conflict is to clearly and calmly state what you want. If you want a coworker to start doing his or her fair share of work, say so. Without stating your desires, you will never get what you want.

Once you complete these five steps, you will have made serious steps towards the resolution of your conflict. Although not all conflicts can be resolved immediately, approaching someone and making an honest effort to make things right can go a long way towards generating good will.



“8 Steps for Conflict Resolution.”      Office of Human Resource Development. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2010.

“Conflict Resolution Skills: Managing & Resolving Conflict in a Positive Way.” Understand, Prevent and Resolve Life’s Challenges. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2010.

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