Ethical Conflict Resolution
by Doug Staneart
Conflicts are inevitable, but the more we know about human nature, the more positive the outcome of a conflict might be for both parties. Here are seven tips for avoiding and resolving conflicts.
Conflicts are inevitable, but the more we know about human nature, the more positive the outcome of a conflict might be for both parties. We know that different people have different priorities and different ways of dealing with situations that may occur, but in general, human beings have certain characteristics that are very similar – even across gender, racial, and socio-economic lines.
- People love to be agreed with.
- People hate to be disagreed with.
- People like other people who agree with them.
- People dislike other people who disagree with them.
- People who are good at resolving conflicts look for some point of agreement and use good people skills to get others to see a different point of view.
So if we know that when we disagree with people, we are likely to raise resentment, it might be a good idea to strengthen our soft-skills – our people skills – when dealing with conflicts or potential conflicts. If we find ourselves in a tense situation, and we raise our voice, the other party is likely to respond in kind. This will usually escalate the situation quickly. Instead, below are seven tips for avoiding and ultimately resolving conflicts.
1. Be proactive instead of reactive. Good plans shape good decisions. That's why good planning helps to make elusive dreams come true. –Lester R. Bittel
2. Be slow to anger—especially over petty issues. Anger is always more harmful than the insult that caused it. –Chinese Proverb
3. Instead of telling people they are wrong, point out mistakes indirectly. A person convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. –Samuel Butler
4. Look for some type of common ground as soon as possible. A compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes he has the biggest piece. -Ludwig Erhard
5. If you find that you are in the wrong, admit it. It’s easier to eat crow while it is still warm. –Dan Heist
6. Admit one of your own poor decisions before pointing out a similar error by others. A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying... that he is wiser today than he was yesterday. -Alexander Pope, from Miscellanies by Jonathan Swift
7. Mend fences whenever possible. Never does the human soul appear so strong as when it forgoes revenge, and dares forgive an injury. -E.H. Chapin