The ABCs of Conflict Resolution

"Seek first to understand and then to be understood."

— Stephen R. Covey

Work & Family Life newsletter (February 2006) offered these tips for resolving conflict:

  • Be aware that you see the world from your own point of view. It's not necessarily the way things really work.
  • Make an effort to understand the other person's point of view; not just what he or she wants, but why.
  • Show empathy. Try to see yourself in someone else's shoes. This is at the heart of the conflict-resolution process. You don't have to agree with people to understand their point of view.
  • Let the other person know that you've tried to see her or his perspective. It helps to establish cooperation and trust and puts you in a better position to work out a solution together.
  • State your own point of view after you feel that you understand the other person's point of view.
  • Be positive. Talk about what you want and why, instead of what you don't want. Focus on the future rather than rehashing old problems.
  • Agree on a general solution and then work out specifics. Just seeing yourselves as partners looking for a solution is an important step. This provides both parties with a stake in making the solution work.

Contributed by Exchange, the Early Childhood Leaders magazine since 1978.