Beet Life

Conflict Resolution

Five Effective Strategies For Resolving Disputes

1. Ask open-ended questions.

It is important to ask open-ended questions in order to identify the other person’s position and interest. Open-ended questions invite a narrative and paints a more accurate picture of what the problem is. For example,


Do you regret your decision?
Do you want to compromise?

You SHOULD say:

How do you feel about your decision? (open-ended)

If I am willing to do [...],
what are you willing to do? (open-ended)

2. Focus on the problem.

Suppose there is a dispute between over uncleaned dog poop in one neighbor’s lawn.

Neighbor: This is not the first time your dog
made my life difficult! He also bit my
daughter last summer! That dog has to go!

You: Your daughter threw a rock at my dog!

Neighbor: That's a lie!

During a heated conversation, it is highly likely that the conversation can get out of topic. In these situations, you should remind the parties in conflict or the person you are in conflict with to focus on particular issues. For example:

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Three Simple Rules When Resolving Or Dealing With Conflicts

Conflicts arise when a person’s needs are not met and is often triggered by fear, sense of unfairness, and difference in opinions, values or attitudes. People quarrel over chores, finances, timelines, territory, etc. You name it, people have fought about it. Here are three simple rules to keep in mind when resolving or dealing with a conflict:

1. The ‘fair’ solution is not always the best solution. A good solution to a problem is one that addresses the concerns and needs of each party in conflict.

The concept of dividing fault or splitting the difference equally as the fairest way of resolving a conflict is flawed because opposing parties usually do not want the same things even though they say they do. Consider this example:

Two daughters are fighting over the last lemon in the kitchen. Each say they want the lemon. They bicker for ten minutes and don’t listen to each other. The mother says, “split the lemon.” Both daughters do not want to split the lemon. The bickering goes on. The mother forces them to split the lemon in half. Both daughters walk away unhappy.

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