How to Resolve Conflict – A Key Leadership Skill – Part 1

In order to achieve success in our business and career, we need to work effectively with people.

Do you find yourself approaching conflicts like this:

• I’ll be really easy to get along with once you people realize I’m right.

• You sound reasonable. It must be time to up my medication.

Managing and resolving conflict can be tricky, frustrating, and even frightening. It requires emotional maturity, self-control, and empathy. You can ensure that the process is as positive as possible by sticking to the following helpful conflict resolution guidelines:

• Make the relationship your priority. Maintaining and strengthening the relationship, rather than “winning” the argument, should always be your first priority. Be respectful of the other person and his or her viewpoint.

• Focus on the present. If you’re holding on to old hurts and resentments, your ability to see the reality of the current situation will be impaired. Rather than looking to the past and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the here and now to solve the problem.

• Pick your battles. Conflicts can be draining, so it’s important to consider whether the issue is really worthy of your time and energy. Maybe you don’t want to surrender a parking space if you’ve been circling for 15 minutes. But if there are dozens of spots, arguing over a single space isn’t worth it.

• Be willing to forgive. Resolving conflict is impossible if you’re unwilling or unable to forgive. Resolution lies in releasing the urge to punish, which can never compensate for our losses and only adds to our injury by further depleting and draining our lives.

• Know when to let something go. If you can’t come to an agreement, agree to disagree. It takes two people to keep an argument going. If a conflict is going nowhere, you can choose to disengage and move on.

Communication Points to Remember

7% of your communications in a face to face situation are accomplished through the words that you use.

38% of your communications are conveyed by your voice (pace, tone, pitch, timbre, volume).

55% of your communications are conveyed (primarily at the unconscious level) by your body language.

Voice and body language are controlled by your state (a soup of your attitudes, world view, intentions, and emotions).

Resolving conflict starts with a sincere desire to achieve a win-win situation. If you keep that in mind, both of you will.

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© Rich Kohler 2017. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at

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