Conflict Resolution Techniques

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Most people believe that conflict is something negative. In many cases conflict can be. Whether1 a small dispute between two neighbors or a global conflict that leads to war, conflict is inevitable. Disagreement is a part of human nature. We are a society of individuals working together to achieve common goals. How we handle conflict determines whether the outcome is a negative or a positive one. If properly handled, conflict may lead to growth, maturity, and understanding of one another. If not, conflict at school could lead to broken ties, at home to hurt feelings, and in the workplace to discouragement. These negative outcomes may be avoided when conflict is handled properly. There is no single technique that works best for settling conflicts. What works in a school setting might not work at an office or at home. Regardless where or with whom the conflict is with, a person must examine themselves, his or her intentions and more importantly, core values.

Respect, integrity, commitment and individual accountability are basic core values people expect from one another. Without respect, conflict can lead to anger, hate, and maybe even violence. Respect is the most important thing that people can show towards each other. In conflict, a sign of respect can show that you are willing to work with the other person to help resolve the problem regardless of any personal differences. Integrity goes hand-in-hand with respect. An individual's honesty is very important when negotiating with others. Earning back the trust of others may prove to be a difficult and frustrating task. Nobody wants to deal with a liar or an individual that is easily corrupted by outside influences. Commitment is the one core value that will help all parties (involved in conflict) reach a solution in a timely manner. When someone shows commitment by putting forth time and effort, that person can then be counted on to reach goals set by themselves or others. Being responsible for your actions is arguably the most difficult core value to maintain. Admitting mistakes and willing to take responsibility is something a great deal of people have trouble with. People fear the consequences that go along with making mistakes. In most cases, the consequences for lying (or not saying anything) about personal mistakes are far worse than admitting to them when they happen. There is no guarantee that both conflicting parties are aware of or even practice these core values. These values may sometimes be lost or forgotten in conflict resolution. These values may not even be necessary if the proper techniques are exercised in conflict resolution. Conflicting parties may even come to an agreement through good communication, cooperation or compromise.

"Although home, schools, and the workplace can be very supportive environments they are also places where difference of opinion, misunderstanding and outright competition occurs on a regular basis" (Pratt, 1997). Communication is the ability to convey knowledge or information. Communication is the foundation to a peaceful resolution. Without communication, conflicting parties have no idea what the others' intentions are, possibly leading to misunderstanding or distrust. How people communicate is just as important. Being mindful of others' beliefs or customs can help to ease the resolution process. Once both sides have established proper communication, they will have to cooperate with each other and work towards a solution or compromise.

Compromising is a technique where both sides come to a mutual agreement. Sometimes, a compromise might be best for both sides. An agreement might be met when all other techniques fail or both parties simply wish to avoid the conflict escalating. A compromise might even favor both parties if they are willing to "give and take" fairly. While there is no clear winner, negotiating parties can end conflict peacefully using this technique through patience and...
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