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Do you avoid conflict because you fear the unpleasantness involved in facing it? Sometimes the presence of conflict is destructive and impedes progress; at other times, it doesn’t. When there is complete absence of conflict, often the need for change is denied, hidden resentments accumulate, problems aren’t dealt with, and creativity is stifled. All relationships have areas of conflict.
Do you wonder about your conflict resolution skills? When you acknowledge conflict and know how to resolve conflict optimally, you minimize differences and optimize mutual understanding. You make the most constructive decisions and reduce drama and crises in your life. To resolve any conflict, willingness by those involved is essential.
The objective of the two-way Optimal conflict resolution process is to find the best solution for all concerned. When you resolve conflicts with optimal communication, the best interests of all are considered and the best solution negotiated. In the real world, however, sometimes negotiations do not result in agreement. Prior to negotiation, it is in your best interest to determine your Optimal contingency plan in case you are unable to reach agreement. This will maximize your leverage.
When discussions begin, only those directly involved in the conflict should partake in its resolution. In these conflict resolution discussions, it is supremely important that respect for others’ self-esteem is always displayed. Concentrate fully on the issue, listen reflectively, and organize the best follow-up date.
The following seven-step formula can be used whenever you seek the best solution to your problems and conflicts.
Step 1. Clearly define the conflict.
This should take no more than 20 percent of your time.
Step 2. Define the main purpose of the solution.
Why do I need the solution? Why does the other party need the solution?
Step 3. Decide on all the information needed.
Identify the cause of the conflict, the major needs, interests, concerns, and common ground of all involved. You may need to gather additional information.
Step 4. Collaborate to generate possible options.
Brainstorm. Do not judge solutions at this stage.
Step 5. Evaluate the options in light of the information collected.
Examine the fairness and practicality of each option. Consider the advantages and disadvantages and evaluate the consequences for all concerned.
Step 6. Negotiate. Decide upon, verify, and implement the best solution.
What can they give me? What can we/I give them? What is easiest for me to give? What is most valuable for them? Is it in my best interest to reveal my Optimal contingency plan? Ensure clear agreement. For the tasks involved, ask What?, Who?, Where?, Why?, How?, When’s the best time? Establish the best possible checking procedure.
Step 7. Choose the best follow-up date.
Evaluate the effectiveness of the solution in light of additional experience and relevant information.