Think resolving conflict is impossible? Think again. We know a great deal about how to resolve conflict. The problem is that this knowledge is held primarily by professionals. But you can learn it too.
Step 1: Honoring Your Opponent's Humanity
The first step to managing conflict is to honor your opponent's humanity. This means seeing that your opponent is a person with wants, needs, and feelings -- just like you.
Step 2: Identify Each Other's Needs
This step is the key to the whole process. To manage conflict, look past blame and criticism. Identify your opponent's needs, wants and feelings.
Speaking and Listening
The most important skills for collaborative problem-solving are those that are used throughout the process. These include Empathic Listening and Self-Assertion.
The Role of Power in Conflict Management
Until this point, we have stressed the importance of cultivating compassion, empathy and care for the other. But that's only part of what is necessary. Managing conflict requires that we assert our own interests. This raises the issue of power.
Bridging Political Divides
Collaborative problem-solving is often effective when trying to resolve difficult social and political problems. Here is an introduction to how this can be done.