Talk Works But It’s Not Always Easy

We often are too quick to assume that conflict has no possible mutually acceptable solution.

Obviously, talking problems through is not easy.

Confronting an issue may require us to expose ourselves to rejection; may force us to admit that we may have contributed to the problem, and challenge our own willingness to change.

While effective two-way communication can happen naturally some of the time, for the most part, it needs to be carefully planned.

The good news is that there are simple and effective tools to turn disagreements into positive outcomes.

A Simple Conflict Resolution Tool You Can Use Immediately

Here’s one such tool. It’s called ‘S.T.E.P. into Conflict.’

S – Seek to Understand

To understand another person, we must be willing to be influenced. When we are open, we give people room to release their fixed positions and consider alternatives. Where does understanding begin? Demanding to be understood is a way of saying, “You open up your mind to me.” Wanting to understand the other person is a way of saying, “I’ll open my mind up for you.”

 T – Then be Understood

Once we understand, we can then seek to be understood. By now, it is much more likely that we will actually be understood, because the other person’s drive to be understood has been satisfied. When both parties fully understand both points of view, they can work from there to discover possible outcomes.

E – Empathize with Others

Ask questions and express interest in the other person by listening to their side of the situation. When we show empathy, people become less defensive about their position. Instead, they open up to the question, “How can we both get what we want?” By jointly considering other options, un-thought of alternatives come into play.

P – Problem Solve

Find ways to solve the problems at the heart of the conflict by basing solutions on the needs of all involved rather than on the positions people have taken.


Commit to improving your conflict resolution abilities by applying this tool to your next disagreement with someone.



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