Four steps to collaborative conflict resolution:
- Separate the People from the Problem (People)
- Focus on Interests, not Positions (Interests)
- Generate a Variety of Possibilities Before Deciding What to Do (Options)
- Insist that the Results Be Based on Some Objective Standard (Criteria)
Collaborative Conflict Resolution Skills Table
Remember to be realistic about the guidelines and skills related to conflict communication. There is no guarantee that engaging in collaborative conflict resolution will meet the needs of all parties in a dispute. Similarly, someone more powerful than you may make use of a win-lose, competing approach to conflict management and reject your request to engage in collaboration, and people who are irrational may not respond appropriate and effectively to your attempts at conflict management. Instead of making use of the collaborative or compromising personal conflict styles, you may need to withdraw or accommodate a relational partner who is extremely angry and aggressive. Even if you intially use conflict management skills in an effective and appropriate manner, feelings may be hurt or angry words may be expressed. Apologies and foregiveness may therefore be competent responses to conflict communication that is ineffective and inappropriate.