Mar 23, 2009

Conflict resolution

Conflict resolution

The ability to solving conflicts is a great life skill. Whenever tensions or differences arise, one should have the tools to make the right choices and find the right attitude. The goal is to expand the power of diplomacy and establish a clear ground for long lasting respect and harmony.

Conflicts can happen on various levels
  • Conflicting interests within one person’s life
  • Between two individuals
  • Between an organization and an individual
  • Between a group of people and an organization
  • Between two organizations
Every situation requires a different approach.

The conflict ground, solving space must be clearly defined as well: Is this a legal matter? Is this an emotional matter? Is this a family conflict? Is this an ideological or belief conflict? Etc.

Once the ground has been found, the “solving” space is clearly set up with a specific set of rules and laws.

For instance if it is a legal matter, a tribunal will be the ruling body.

If it is an ideological conflict, usually open dialogue will be the best approach.

Many cases of conflict simply have no solution. They can be seen as a test for the entities involved. A conflict can be like a question without an answer.

In cases of conflicts which cannot be solved legally, the best approach is diplomacy.

Diplomacy is an incredibly powerful tool. It has the power to solve difficult situations fairly and with a minimal of damage.

There are some conflicts which are solved by fight. This happens a lot in the animal kingdom. Consider for instance the conflict between two chimpanzees to be chief. Fortunately, the human being has found ways of moving beyond open fight. Competition for power is mainly ruled by another set of laws.

On the fringe of conflicts, we enter in the field of competition. Somehow, competition echoes better in our minds. Competing in sports or in business for instance happens within a very specific context of rules and boundaries which are usually respected.

We can notice as well the presence of a judging entity like a referee or a jury.

In other situations, for instance conflicts within an organization, a mediator will be used.

Common difficulties in solving conflicts have to do with these elements:
  • Disrespect of a laws, rules, or conflict ground
  • Emotional build up.
  • Fighting ground rather than diplomatic ground
  • Lack of sufficient rules and structures to solve the conflict
  • Lack of information, factual knowledge.
  • Etc
Emotional issues usually lie at the heart of conflicts.

Dealing with a conflict successfully often means dealing with the conflicting emotions.