What is Conflict Resolution?

Definition: Conflict resolution is a process where a given disagreement between parties is mediated to reach a proper solution. It is a way to work out certain differences that arise between parties.

What Does Conflict Resolution Mean?

Conflict resolution can be considered both a skill and a process. From a skill perspective, a person might possess a highly-developed ability to solve conflicts through mediation, persuasion, negotiation or even dissuasion. This skill has a high value in workplaces where conflicts are a common thing between staff members. This skill includes listening and negotiation skills, along with emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills.

On the other hand, conflict resolution is also a process that may involve several parties depending on the issue at hand. The parties involved in the conflict can react differently towards its appearance. They can either avoid it, collaborate, negotiate, try to soften the conflict or compete with each other. Third party mediators are often employed when conflicts have reached an impasse. Also, conflicts can be solved unilaterally (by an authoritative figure) or jointly (when parties reach a certain agreement by themselves). The outcome of conflict resolution procedures can be categorized as win-win, win-lose or lose-lose situations, being the win-win scenario the most desirable one.

Example

Mr. Parker is the head of the Accounting Department of a company called Fitness Gear Co. He isn’t the most talented accountant but he is widely recognized as a problem-solver among his peers and bosses. People say he possesses a great skill to solve conflicts effectively. Recently, there was a delay in filling a given tax form and this brought conflict among his team, where each of the responsible parties blamed someone else for the mistake.

Mr. Parker, employing his renowned skills, met with the team and explained that while this error wasn’t desirable, the consequences were minor and it was more important to him to maintain friendly and healthy work relations than to point a finger to someone. This statement caused the teammates to relax and even one of them confessed it was his mistake and he apologized for it. This skill is highly appreciated and valued by Mr. Parker’s bosses.