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<xTITLE>8 Steps For Conflict Resolution</xTITLE>

8 Steps For Conflict Resolution

by Jeff Thompson
May 2009

From Jeff Thompson's Enjoy Mediation Blog

Jeff Thompson
The second post (see the first here) highlighting OHRD (of Wisconsin University) and their tips on ADR will focus on what they call the "8 Steps For Conflict Resolution", which is a process they recommend for effectively managing conflict- be it in the workplace, at home, and relationships among others.

They are as follows (from this link here):

1. "Know Thyself" and Take Care of Self
- Understand your "perceptual filters," biases, triggers
- Create a personally affirming environment (eat, sleep, exercise)

2. Clarify Personal Needs Threatened by the Dispute
- Substantive, Procedural, and Psychological Needs
- Look at BATNA, WATNA, and MLATNA
- Identify "Desired Outcomes" from a Negotiated Process

3. Identify a Safe Place for Negotiation
- Appropriate Space for Discussion/ Private and Neutral
- Mutual Consent to Negotiate/ Appropriate Time
- Role of Support People (Facilitators, Mediators, Advocates), as needed
- Agreement to Ground rules

Take a Listening Stance into the Interaction
- "Seek first to understand, then to be understood" (Covey)
- Use Active Listening skills

5. Assert Your Needs Clearly and Specifically
- Use "I-messages" as tools for clarification
- Build from what you have heard - continue to listen well

6. Approach Problem-Solving with Flexibility
- Identify Issues Clearly and Concisely
- Generate Options (Brainstorm), While Deferring Judgment
- Be open to "tangents" and other problem definitions
- Clarify Criteria for Decision-Making

7. Manage Impasse with Calm, Patience, and Respect
- Clarify Feelings
- Focus on Underlying Needs, Interests, and Concerns
- Take a structured break, as needed

8. Build an Agreement that Works
- "Hallmarks" of a Good Agreement
- Implement and Evaluate - Live and Learn

Note: you can click each title, as it will give a more in depth description. For the main OHRD site, click [here].


Jeff Thompson, Ph.D., is a professor at Lipscomb University, researcher, mediator, and trainer. He is also involved in crisis and hostage negotiation as well as a law enforcement detective. His research includes law enforcement crisis and hostage negotiation in terrorist incidents. He received his doctorate from Griffith University Law School having researched the impact nonverbal communication has in conflict situations with respect to developing rapport, building trust, and displaying professionalism.

Dr. Thompson has presented and trained on the topic of conflict, mediation, (crisis and hostage) negotiation, communication and nonverbal communication internationally for a variety of audiences including police personnel, government officials, judges, attorneys, physicians, sales people, business professionals, and both graduate and undergraduate students. He has also been published in numerous professional and academic publications.

He is the co-chair of ACR's national Crisis Negotiation Section, and he is an ad-hoc reviewer for multiple academic journals. He received his MS in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from the Werner Institute, Creighton University School of Law.

(All posts by Jeff Thompson represent his personal reflections and opinions and not that of any organization.)

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